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Father charged after baby dies in hot car in Arizona

By Paul Davenport

Associated Press

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 11:56 a.m. HST, Aug 30, 2013


PHOENIX >> A 31-year-old father whose infant son died after being left in a parked car in the Phoenix summertime heat was smoking marijuana next to the car with a co-worker part of the time, police said.

Daniel Bryant Gray, 31, was booked into a Maricopa County jail late Thursday, charged with manslaughter and child abuse, Sgt. Tommy Thompson said.

Police earlier said 3-month-old Jamison Dean Gray died after his father went on Wednesday, his day off, to check on business at a northeast Phoenix sports bar and restaurant where he worked as a kitchen manager.

When the baby was removed from the car shortly before noon, outside temperatures were about 100 degrees, but interior car temperatures are frequently much higher.

At first, police said the father was distracted and forgot about the boy.

However, a court document released Friday said investigators learned from an unidentified kitchen worker that the worker had seen Gray and another employee standing next to Gray's car and apparently smoking marijuana.

The employee seen outside with Gray later told police that Gray had asked the employee for marijuana "so the two went out back and stood in front of Daniel's car" about an hour before Gray remembered his son, police said in the document.

That employee, who was not identified by police, said he didn't notice the baby in the car and didn't know Gray was a father.

While he was in the restaurant, Gray did work that included helping kitchen staff prepare food, the document said.

When Gray remembered his son, he got the unresponsive baby and took him into the business' cooler where a co-worker began to perform CPR while another called 911.

The first officer to arrive at the scene tried to revive the child before an ambulance arrived, but the boy couldn't be revived and he was pronounced dead at a hospital.

"There's no question" that Gray didn't intend his son to die, a prosecutor said Friday during an initial court hearing for Gray.

However, Gray has a criminal history of substance abuse and he was grossly negligent, Deputy Maricopa County Attorney George Kelemen Jr. said.

The prosecutor said Gray's alleged crimes in his son's death are akin to an inattentive drunken driver causing the death of a passenger.

Kelemen noted that Gray has a criminal record that includes convictions for possession of marijuana and aggravated DUI.

"The state believes the tragedy that occurred Wednesday is not simply an unavoidable mistake of a thoughtful parent," Kelemen told a judge who set bail for Gray.

Gray doesn't yet have an attorney and he remained jailed Friday in lieu of $100,000 bond.






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