The parents and grandmother of an eight-month-old baby are in court this week, charged with his manslaughter after leaving him to “cook” in a hot car, New Zealand Herald reports.
Isaiah Neil was unresponsive when he was found by his father Shane Neil outside his grandmother’s home in Ruatoki, New Zealand on November 2, 2015. The baby died from heatstroke after being left strapped inside a “very hot” car for several hours.
Isaiah’s grandmother Donna Catherine Parangi, who has pleaded not guilty, was reportedly smoking synthetic cannabis with her daughter Lacey Te Whetu, Isaiah’s mother, while the eight-month-old was sleeping in the car.
Isaiah’s father Neil was also under the influence of synthetic cannabis at the time of his son’s death and both he and Te Whetu have pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of their son. They are now key witnesses in the case against Parangi, the Herald reports.
On Tuesday, Neil gave evidence at Parangi’s trial and told the jury he found his unresponsive son inside the hot car. The father said he took the infant inside to wake Te Whetu, but after she said he was fine they put him back to bed and went to sleep. Around 6pm, Neil said he woke up and checked on Isaiah again, only to find him “saturated” with sweat and “lifeless”.
Neil told the jury he “got stoned after that”. The court also heard he was so stoned when emergency services arrived that he went back to sleep after Isaiah was pronounced dead. Later, when speaking to a police officer, the father allegedly said “we cooked the baby”.
An examination of Isaiah’s body reportedly found extensive bruising and an adult bite mark.
The horrific case is the latest in a list of incidents that saw young children left in hot cars over the summer.
In February, a one-year-old baby was found dead after reportedly being left in a hot car in the sweltering Sydney heat.
Baby Jone was found unresponsive after paramedics were called to a home in Chester Hill in Sydney’s west on February 3. NSW Police later confirmed they had received reports that he had been locked in a car outside the residence, as outside temperatures rose past 30℃.
In an exclusive chat with the Mail Online, the grieving mother Samantha Rowlands explained she had left her six children in the care of her mother and her partner while she attended a football game. The gran had taken all of them on an outing during the day, before returning to the house to escape the heat.
According to the news outlet, the gran asked Jone’s eight-year-old sister to take him out of the car, while the eldest son picked up Jone’s twin brother.
Apparently unaware that hadn’t happened, the gran’s partner then started playing outside with all of the kids on a waterslide while she rested inside away from the heat. The whole time – reportedly more than two hours – Jone was actually inside the increasingly hot car.
Police have since described the incident as a “tragic accident” and it’s reportedly unlikely that any charges will be laid.