Canyon County

More tests needed to determine why baby left in Caldwell car died, coroner says

Kyrae Vineyard
Kyrae Vineyard via Kyrae’s GoFundMe page

The Canyon County Coroner’s Office on Tuesday began an autopsy on a 5-month-old girl who was pronounced dead at a hospital Saturday after she was found alone in a locked car. But more tests are needed to determine why Kyrae Vineyard died, according to Coroner Vicki Degeus-Morris.

“We’re not ruling anything out until we have all the tests,” said Degeus-Morris, who was unsure when the test results would be back and said she may not have them this week.

Someone called 911 just after 4 p.m. Saturday to report an unattended baby in a car, police said. The baby was unresponsive and didn’t have a pulse when paramedics transported her to the hospital.

The baby was strapped in a car seat inside a car parked in the 4000 block of Cleveland Boulevard, near a car dealership just west of Lake Avenue, police said. The windows of the car were rolled up. It’s unclear how long the baby was left in the car.

The baby’s mother, Elisa Johnson, confirmed her daughter’s name to the Statesman on Monday but has not spoken further about what transpired.

Officers have interviewed the man who was taking care of the child that afternoon. Police have not identified the man nor specified the relationship between the man and the child. The person who called 911 was not the caretaker, police said.

A GoFundMe account for funeral expenses has been set up online. So far, more than $1,800 has been raised.

Though the cause of Kyrae’s death is not yet known, safety advocates warn parents and those caring for children or pets that it doesn’t have to be hot outside for temperatures inside cars to become deadly.

Since 1990, at least 775 children have died of vehicular heat stroke, according to a group that tracks these deaths, KidsAndCars.org. The group estimates an average of 37 such deaths per year. Vineyard’s death would be the seventh such death so far this year.

Temperatures early Saturday afternoon in Caldwell were in the low to mid-70s. The peak heat for the day was 77 at 3:30 p.m., according to the National Weather Service. It was about 74 at the time the baby was found after 4 p.m.

Katy Moeller: 208-377-6413, @KatyMoeller

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