Adults Face Charges For Child Deaths

Posted: November 26, 2012 at 3 a.m.

Every year, dozens of young children across the country die after becoming trapped in hot cars. The legal repercussions can be quite different even in strikingly similar cases

Margette and William Staten decided to go to Walmart on Aug. 3. Their great-grandson, 2-year-old Joniah Chronister, begged to go with them, so they buckled him in his car seat in the back of their Ford Focus.

At A Glance

Vehicle Heating Dynamics

Jan Null, meteorologist and lecturer at San Francisco State University, studied the rates at which the temperature rises inside a closed, midsize, dark blue sedan in 2002 when outside temperatures were between 72 and 96 degrees. Here are some of his findings:

After 10 minutes, the temperature inside rose 19 degrees.

After 30 minutes, it rose 34 degrees.

After 50 minutes, it rose 41 degrees.

This pattern was pretty much the same whether the starting temperature was 72 or 96 degrees.

Leaving windows open a crack made little difference.

Source: Jan Null

Nationwide death rates

1998-2012 child car deaths per 1 million residents under 14 years old in 2010 census.

Source: Department of Geosciences, San Francisco State University

At A Glance

Local Hyperthermia Deaths Of Children In Vehicles

Lincoln A. Brunner, 3 years

Date: Aug. 4, 2012

Location: Benton County, east of Bella Vista

What happened: Lincoln’s parents, Kary and Sandra Brunner, noticed Lincoln was missing when it came time for his nap, according to a Benton County Sheriff’s Office investigation. The parents said they had heard their other children playing upstairs and assumed Lincoln was with them. Lincoln apparently had climbed into the couple’s Buick LeSabre, which was parked outside. The outside temperature at the time was in the triple digits. No charges were filed.

Joniah D. Chronister, 2 years

Date: Aug. 3, 2012

Location: Springdale

What happened: Police and firefighters responded to a 911 call at 4:40 p.m. to find Joniah unresponsive and without a pulse after he had been left inside a car parked outside Walmart. The boy had been brought there by his great-grandparents, William J. Staten and Margette I. Staten. The Statens both have been charged with misdemeanor negligent homicide. Their trial is set for Dec. 6 in Springdale District Court.

Carsyn A. Reaves, 14 months

Date: Aug. 13, 2010

Location: Bentonville

What happened: Derrick Reaves forgot to drop off his child at day care before going to work at Walmart’s David Glass Technology Center in Bentonville. At noon he went back to his car, according to police documents. That’s when he found Carsyn. The outside temperature at the time was 99 degrees. No charges were filed.

Virginia and Curtis Markley, 4 years and 5 years

Date: June 15, 2009

Location: Springdale

What happened: The children’s grandmother found Curtis and Virginia in the trunk of their mother’s car, dead of apparent heatstroke. They apparently crawled into the trunk of the 2000 Chevrolet Malibu and shut the lid. The car wasn’t equipped with a safety release inside the trunk. Katrina Markley, the mother, later admitted to police she had been on the computer most of the day and wasn’t aware of her children’s whereabouts. Markley pleaded guilty July 26, 2010, to two charges of third-degree endangering the welfare of a minor, a misdemeanor. She was sentenced to six months of work-release service at the Washington County Jail and ordered to pay a $2,000 fine.

Brianna Cordell, 3 years

Date: Aug. 8, 2003

Location: Springdale

What happened: Brianna wandered from her family’s apartment and got inside her mother’s car, where her body was later found. Prosecutors charged her mother, Mary Christina Cordell, with manslaughter. At issue was whether she contributed to Brianna’s death by spending about three hours playing an Internet computer game while her daughter was unattended. On Sept. 29, 2004, a jury found Cordell guilty of a lesser charge of negligent homicide; she was sentenced to pay a $100 fine, one year of supervised probation, and court-appointed counseling and parenting classes.

Source: Staff Report

By The Numbers

Child Deaths

States with the most child vehicular hyperthermia deaths from 1998 to today.

  1. Texas: 84
  2. Florida: 61
  3. California: 36
  4. Arizona: 24
  5. Tennessee: 23
  6. Louisiana: 21
  7. Georgia, North Carolina (tie): 20
  8. Virginia, Ohio, Missouri (tie): 16
  9. Arkansas: 15

Source: Staff Report

This story is only available from our archives.

I don't care what this guy thinks you can't legislate common sense.

Posted by: AutopilotAR

November 26, 2012 at 11:31 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Both Bentonville staff attorney Camille Thompson and Benton County Prosecutor Van Stone declined to file charges. Stone said the investigation showed there was no prior history of neglect, no substance abuse involved, and Reaves didn’t knowingly leave the child in a car. Considering the circumstances, there was no need to bring the judicial system into play, he said.


Posted by: fmf030108010954

November 26, 2012 at 11:55 p.m. ( | suggest removal )