Both foster parents of a 10-month-old girl who died after being left in a hot car were smoking marijuana while she remained in the vehicle outside, a Wichita police affidavit says.
The affidavit, filed in Sedgwick County District Court and released Monday, provides new details about what led up to the July 24 death, including that one of the foster parents realized that the baby remained in the car when he heard a baby crying on a television show they were watching.
They rushed outside, but her body was hot and already stiff, and she was unresponsive, the court document says.
Seth Jackson, 29, the parent who police say left the girl in the car, has been charged with first-degree murder. The affidavit spells out the allegations upon which authorities are basing their prosecution of Jackson.
The affidavit, signed by homicide unit Detective Ryan Schomaker, gives this narrative: At about 6:41 p.m. July 24, officers were dispatched to an unknown call for police and arrived at 1525 S. Topeka and were let into the home by the other foster parent, identified in the affidavit by his initials. An officer saw Jackson on the telephone and the baby, identified as K.P.J., lying on her back on the couch and not breathing.
Wichita fire personnel arrived and moved the baby to the floor to use lifesaving techniques.
The other foster parent told the officer that he estimated that the baby had been left in the car about two hours. The other parent said he ran to the Dodge Charger, parked on the street, and found the baby in the back passenger seat and took her inside, where “they tried performing CPR but could not get her mouth open,” the affidavit says.
Another officer arrived and saw Jackson standing in the front yard. Jackson made about four phone calls and said, “I left her in the car, she’s dead, she’s dead.” Jackson told the officer that he had gotten home after getting the girl from the baby sitter in his silver Dodge Charger and picking up pizza, that when he arrived home, he locked the car and went inside with the pizza and a 5-year-old child, the affidavit says.
Jackson told the officer that after about two hours, he realized the baby had remained in the car, the document says. He and the other parent ran together to the car and carried the child inside.
Schomaker and Detective Robert Chisholm interviewed the other foster parent at police offices at City Hall and found out that he and Jackson had been foster parents to the baby since she was 2 weeks old. They also learned, according to the affidavit, that Jackson had taken a 5-year-old child to a doctor’s appointment scheduled for 2:30 p.m. that day. Jackson called the other parent at about 3:30 and told how the appointment went. Jackson told the other parent he was going to pick up the 10-month-old from the baby sitter and drive home, the affidavit says.
The other parent told the detectives that he had been working in the backyard and went inside, where he found Jackson. It was 4 to 4:15 p.m., and the other parent said he thought Jackson had just gotten home. They decided on leftover pizza for dinner and went into their room on the main floor and watched one and a half episodes of “Game of Thrones.”
The other parent told one of the detectives that “they smoked marijuana that Seth (Jackson) had picked up that day,” the affidavit says.
When watching the show, the other parent said, Jackson heard “a child crying on the television show and that is when Seth realized that K.P.J. was still inside the vehicle.” The other parent ran to the car as Jackson unlocked it from the front porch, reached in and unbuckled the baby from a rear car seat, the affidavit says.
The other parent said the girl “was hot to the touch and stiff when he grabbed her,” the document says. The 10-month-old was unresponsive. He called 911 while Jackson tried to do CPR.
A coroner’s official who did an autopsy on the girl listed the cause of death as “hyperthermia due to environmental heat exposure due to enclosure inside a vehicle outdoors,” the affidavit says.