In the midst of an investigation to understand how a 2-year-old boy was left alone in a hot car for several hours and died, Shelby Township Police offered some details on Wednesday afternoon.
James Everett Lawrence Nelson had been dead for several hours before his mother's roommate called 911 at about 6 p.m. on Tuesday, STPD Chief Roland Woelkers said at a press conference in police headquarters. Woelkers continued that Macomb County Medical Examiners had completed their autopsy and attributed the cause of death to heat stroke.
Police have interviewed the boy's mother, her roommate, as well as other family and friends who were involved in the care of the toddler, but have not held anyone in custody. "There’s a group of people that have different responsibilities in caring for the child. We're still conducting an investigation to determine who was the last person who saw the child alive," Woelkers said.
The boy lived with his mother, Andrioanna Maria Rhoades, 21, at the Dequindre Estates Mobile Home Park, near Hamlin and Dequindre roads, but his father lived out-of-state and was not involved in child care, according to Woelkers. He continued that Rhoades worked weekdays in the Rochester area, usually placing the boy in her car on the way to work.
The car, a 2007 Dodge Caravan, was parked in the tree-less driveway with its windows rolled up. The temperature outside was in the 70s on Tuesday, however, when the boy was eventually transported to Troy Beaumont Hospital, he registered a temperature of 108 degrees, Woelkers said.
As the investigation remains open, police are limited in what they can offer, Woelkers continue. Witnesses are still being sought out; anyone with information is encouraged to contact the police department.
Fast facts about heat stroke in children
- Thirty-six children have been killed nationwide this year in locked car/heat-related deaths
- Since 1998, every 9 days, a child dies in a locked car
- The temperature inside of a car can rise as high as 130 degrees on a hot day