Hot weather puts kids, pets in peril
Five-month-old Kyrae Vineyard died alone in the back seat of a hot car at a Caldwell dealership while her mom’s boyfriend looked at and test-drove a new car, purchased it and drove away, according to court documents.
Haven Hackworth, 24, was arrested this week on a felony charge of involuntary manslaughter, and court documents released Thursday add details to the case, including how long Kyrae was left in the car May 20 with its windows rolled up — at least four hours.
Hackworth reportedly panicked and called the car salesman when he realized that he didn’t have the baby with him, Caldwell police said in a probable cause affidavit. The salesman found the baby in a car seat, concealed by a blanket, and 911 was called. Hackworth reportedly left Kyrae in the car about noon, although a doctor and the coroner told officers that it appeared the infant had been dead six or more hours before she arrived at a local hospital around 4:25 p.m., police said.
“When asked how he could forget about K.V. for that amount of time, Haven stated that he didn’t know, and that he was just really excited to get his new car,” police said in the affidavit.
After numerous tests and an investigation, the Canyon County coroner confirmed in July that Kyrae died of hyperthermia, which happens when a person’s body temperature rises greatly above what is normal.
It was about 74 degrees in Caldwell when the child was found, but a research meteorologist told police that the temperature could have been more than 120 degrees inside the car with the windows rolled up, and far hotter for any person or object in direct sunlight. The little girl’s internal temperature was 106 degrees when her body arrived at a local hospital, according to the affidavit.
Hackworth drove to the dealership in his girlfriend’s car after dropping her off at work in Nampa and saying he would take Kyrae with him to buy a car, according to statements from both Hackworth and Kyrae’s mom. Both told police that the last time they saw Kyrae alive was when they placed her in the back seat.
After Hackworth drove to the dealership in Caldwell, he went inside immediately, leaving the baby, he told police. He took a test drive, went back to the girlfriend’s car at one point to pick up a vaping device and completed paperwork to buy the car. He then headed to Nampa to pick up his girlfriend before suddenly remembering the child had been sitting in the other car the whole time, he told police.
At that point, he turned around and called the salesman to check on Kyrae, he said.
He also called his girlfriend about 4 p.m. to tell her that he had forgotten the baby in the car and that she was dead, the girlfriend told police.
Asked about the discrepancies between the time frames offered by the couple and initial medical reports, the woman told police: “That car gets really hot. Like, I had a lighter explode in that car yesterday,” according to the affidavit.
Hackworth could face up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine if convicted of involuntary manslaughter. His preliminary hearing on the charge is scheduled for Aug. 16.
Caldwell police offered condolences Wednesday and cited kidsandcars.org, which notes that in 2017 thus far, 30 children in the U.S. have died in vehicles due to heat stroke.
Kristin Rodine: 208-377-6447