Georgia police charged Justin Ross Harris with murder in his son’s tragic death Wednesday, but Florida investigators are still determining whether to bring any charges at all against Steven Lillie. These similar cases — with potentially far different outcomes — spotlight how not all states and counties choose to aggressively prosecute parents for their deadly actions. An analysis by one child advocacy group found that of nearly 500 heat-related child fatalities in cars dating from 1968 to 2013, about 60 percent involved a parent or caretaker getting charged.
Another 30 percent of cases had no charges filed, while in the remaining 10 percent, it was unclear what happened. “There isn’t any rhyme or reason to why it varies from state to state,” said Amber Rollins, a director with KidsAndCars.org, a nonprofit child-safety group. “Even case by case, you never know what’s going to happen.” Of those arrested and charged in a child’s death, the majority — 60 percent — were ultimately convicted of a crime, such as child abuse, child neglect or negligent homicide. While murder charges are not unheard of depending on the severity of the case, prosecutors can end up pursuing lesser charges, such as manslaughter, and allow for probation as opposed to jail time. “We’ve seen cases where parents ultimately aren’t convicted,”
What are your thoughts on this, read the recent stories and let me know if you think parents and/or caretakers should be charged or not. PLEASE BE CAREFUL DO NOT LEAVE YOUR KIDS IN THE CAR FOR ANY REASON IN THE SUMMER.NEIGHBORS HEARD SCREAMS AS MOTHER FOUND TODDLER TRAPPED IN CAR WINDOW CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. — Two people said they heard a mother’s screams for help when she discovered her two-year-old daughter trapped inside a car outside a mobile home Tuesday night. Police were called to the Parkway Trailer Park in the 6700 block of Jefferson Davis Highway for a report of a child who was not breathing around 9:40 p.m. Tuesday. The child’s mother, according to neighbors, had come to the mobile home to style someone’s hair. “The child didn’t have shoes or any clothing on, just a diaper,” said one woman. “Anyway, my friend says she knocked on the door, she comes inside, she was supposed to be coming to do her hair. She didn’t know the child was with her.” Then five to ten minutes later, the neighbor reported that the woman said she was going outside to check on her daughter, Mikayla, who police said had been left unattended inside the car. One man, who spoke to CBS 6 on the condition of anonymity, said he was making a snack when he heard screaming. “Got up to start making some Pho — you know, Cambodian food. While I was putting food in a bowl, I heard yelling. I didn’t think much about it, so I sat down and started eating. That’s when she ran in there with her baby, talking about, ‘Somebody call the police, my baby is dead.’” Police said Mikayala Thurston was pronounced dead at VCU Medical Center. A preliminary investigation found that the little girl was left inside the car and that her neck and head became trapped between a car window and car door frame. At the mother’s home off Turner Road Wednesday, the driveway was littered with no trespassing signs. Mikayla’s grandfather said the family is devastated over the loss of his grandbaby he affectionately called “Twinkle.” CBS 6 checked with the Chesterfield Sheriff’s Department late Wednesday. They said no one is in custody for the girl’s death. Police said their investigation into the child’s death is ongoing. If you have information that could help investigators, call Chesterfield police at 804-748-1251 or Crime Solvers at 804-748-0660. FATHER CHARGED WITH MURDER AFTER LEAVING TODDLER IN HOT CAR FOR 8 HOURS ATLANTA, Ga. – A father has been charged with murder in the death of his 2-year-old child after he allegedly left the toddler in a hot car for eight hours. Police said Justin Ross Harris, 34, was supposed to drop the child off at daycare, but forgot. He then drove to work around 9 a.m. Wednesday and left the toddler in the car. It wasn’t until Harris left work and started driving home that he looked in the backseat and saw the child still strapped in the car seat and unresponsive. A witness saw Harris pull into the Akers Mill Square shopping center, stop his car straddling two lanes of traffic, jump out and begin CPR on the toddler. “He was constantly saying, ‘What have I done, what have I done.’” Harris is charged with murder and cruelty to children, both felonies and is currently being held without bond at the Cobb County Adult Detention Center. Anyone with information about this case which may assist detectives is asked to call 770-499-3945. Temperatures in Atlanta topped 90 degrees Wednesday afternoon. Temperatures inside a hot car could go as high as 130 to 140 degrees in a few hours. ROCKLEDGE DAD ARRESTED IN DEATH OF BABY LEFT IN HOT PICKUP TRUCK ROCKLEDGE, Fla. - Rockledge police on Friday arrested the father of a 9-month-old girl who died after being left inside a hot vehicle for hours. Steven Lillie was arrested on charges of aggravated manslaughter in the death of his daughter, Anna Marie Lillie. Lillie found his daughter unresponsive Monday in his pickup truck outside his workplace at 566 Barton Blvd. Police said the girl had been left inside the closed truck for about four hours during the hottest time of the day. Police believe Lillie arrived at work sometime after 1 p.m. Monday. They found the child in her car seat in the backseat of the truck, and although the windows were tinted, they were rolled up. Paramedics rushed the girl to Wuesthoff Hospital, where she died. Police on Tuesday said Lillie left for work intending to drop his daughter off with a caregiver. Some type of disruption in Lillie's normal routine, however, caused him to forget that he had not dropped off the baby, police said. About four hours later, a family member asking about the girl prompted Lillie to run outside, where he found his daughter inside the truck, police said.