A 5-year-old boy died of heatstroke when he was left in the back of his mother’s car during the sweltering Texas heat, according to a report.
The child, identified by the Daily Mail as Trace Means, died on Monday when 36-year-old Amanda Means forgot the child in the back of a car outside of the family’s home while preparing for a birthday party for the child’s older sister.
Temperatures climbed to as high as 100 degrees that day.
According to Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, Means returned home with her two children in the backseat of her car and assumed that Trace had gotten out after seeing his sister hop out.
Between two and three hours later, she realized that Trace was missing and ran outside to find her son still strapped into a child safety seat in the back of the car. The mother told police that her son typically knows how to unbuckle himself and exit the car, but the car he died in was a loaner vehicle, Gonzalez said.
She has not been charged in the tragic incident, but the sheriff’s office is still investigating.
Amanda Means is currently in the process of divorcing her husband, 48-year-old Steve Means, according to the Daily Mail.
Steve Means had been with his son on Father’s Day, just one day before Trace died, according to the paper. While the father is devastated at the loss of his son, he hopes Trace’s mother is not criminally charged in what appears to be an accident, his attorney said.
“Steve is a stand-up guy. He is in tears, he’s beside himself, but the last thing he wants is for Amanda to be criminally punished. She is going through enough already,” attorney Gary Block told the paper.
“He knows that she is their mother, no matter what happened, and that there was nothing done on purpose. All he wants to do right now is make sure his daughter is OK and that everyone can begin to heal,” he added.
Trace is the fifth child in the U.S. to die from heatstroke after being left in a car this year, according to meteorologist Jan Null, who has been tracking such deaths since 1998.
His death is also the second such fatal incident in less than a week after a 3-month-old baby died last Thursday after he was left in a hot car for several hours in Pennsylvania.