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Locked In Hot Car, 2 Young Boys Die; Woman [Foster Mother] Arrested in Deaths
Associated Press via CBSNews.com & Atlanta Journal-Constitution ^ | July 9, 2003

Posted on 07/09/2003 10:53:04 AM PDT by newgeezer

For discussion and educational use only.


Los Angeles County Sheriff's Homicide detectives examine the car in which they say the brothers, age 3 and 5, were locked in for about five hours before they were discovered by police. (Photo: AP)
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Locked In Hot Car, 2 Boys Die
LANCASTER, Calif., July 9, 2003


Two young boys died Tuesday after being locked for five hours in a sport utility vehicle in sweltering heat outside a daycare center, authorities said.

The boys, ages 3 and 5, were found by sheriff's deputies around 2 p.m. in the driveway of the daycare center.

Sheriff's Sgt. Paul Patterson says the 5-year-old was dead. His brother, who was severely dehydrated, died a short time later at a hospital.

Authorities say the boys had recently been placed in the foster care of the woman who ran the center.

Police also say she is the owner of the car in which the children were found.

They say the woman, whose identity was not released, told authorities that she left the children in the car at around 9 a.m.

A woman who answered the phone at A Child's Place Daycare declined to comment.

Afternoon temperatures hovered around 100 degrees in Lancaster, a high desert town about 70 miles north of Los Angeles. But Patterson said the temperature inside a closed car could have exceeded 120 degrees.

© MMIII The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.



Woman Arrested in Deaths of 2 Young Boys

LANCASTER, Calif. (AP)--The foster mother of two young boys who died after being left five hours in a sweltering sport utility vehicle was arrested for investigation of child endangerment.

Leslie Sue Smoot, 48, was booked late Tuesday night and held on $100,000 bail. No court date was scheduled.

Sheriff Lee Baca said earlier Tuesday that those responsible for leaving the children in the car would be charged with child endangerment and possibly manslaughter.

``Vehicles are not playpens,'' he said. ``Vehicles are not baby sitters. And vehicles, when they are not properly ventilated, are death traps.''

Smoot told authorities she left the boys, ages 3 and 5, in the car around 9 a.m. outside A Child's Place Daycare, which she ran.

``She indicated she thought someone else was going to get the children out of the car, possibly her husband,'' Los Angeles County sheriff's Lt. Al Grotefend said. ``There was some miscommunication.''

Smoot told investigators she discovered the boys in their car seats when she returned in the afternoon and pulled them from the vehicle.

The 5-year-old was dead. His brother, who was severely dehydrated, died a short time later at a hospital, sheriff's Sgt. Paul Patterson said.

Afternoon temperatures hovered around 100 degrees in the high desert town about 70 miles northeast of Los Angeles.

Officials from the Department of Children and Family Services said they will investigate.

A woman who answered the phone at A Child's Place Daycare declined to comment. Friends and parents gathered Tuesday at the 24-hour day care center.

Naeemah Edwards, whose daughter attended the center, told KABC-TV she was shocked.

``They come in with my daughter, and they play together,'' she said, adding that she would not let her child to return to the center.

AP-NY-07-09-03 0642EDT

Copyright 2003, The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP Online news report may not be published, broadcast or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Front Page News; News/Current Events; US: California
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How utterly tragic.

(I couldn't find where anything of this story had been posted, yet.)

1 posted on 07/09/2003 10:53:05 AM PDT by newgeezer
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To: All
The former President disembarks from his airplane after a trip back to Arkansas. Although the hoopla is less now that he is out of office, Clinton still occasionally finds himself greeted by military personnel. This is one such occasion.

He climbs down the stairs, carrying two huge pigs, one under each arm. He gets to the bottom, and nods his head in return to the soldier's salute. "Son, what do you think about these?" he says. "Nice pigs, SIR!" comes the reply. Clinton gets mildly miffed and lectures, "I'll have you know these aren't just pigs but the finest of Arkansas Razorbacks. Top notch. I got one for Hillary, and one for Chelsea. What do you think about that?"

"Nice trade, SIR!

Free Republic
Your donations keep us laughing at liberals

2 posted on 07/09/2003 10:53:54 AM PDT by Support Free Republic (Your support keeps Free Republic going strong!)
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To: newgeezer
When will these idiots EVER learn NOT to do this?!?!?!?!?!
3 posted on 07/09/2003 10:55:01 AM PDT by admiralsn (optional, printed after your name on post)
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To: newgeezer
The parents, guardians and caregivers who are negligent enough to let this happen, should lose their right to ever have children in their care, again. EVERY summer this happens... when will people ever learn?
4 posted on 07/09/2003 10:55:26 AM PDT by Pan_Yans Wife (Lurking since 2000.)
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To: newgeezer
Unbelievable. I have to assume that the five year old was developmentally disabled or simply died in his sleep.

I can't imagine a normal five year old being unable to get out of a car.

5 posted on 07/09/2003 10:55:30 AM PDT by wideawake (God bless our brave soldiers and their Commander in Chief)
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To: newgeezer
This is really tragic.The woman is evil or ignorant.
6 posted on 07/09/2003 10:55:34 AM PDT by MEG33
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To: MEG33
I doubt evil, if you mean in the sense that she wanted her kids to die. That's kind of a dumb way to do it.
7 posted on 07/09/2003 10:58:03 AM PDT by MaxPlus305
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To: newgeezer
OMG 5 Freakin hours?????? Those poor babies!!!
8 posted on 07/09/2003 10:58:56 AM PDT by areafiftyone (The U.N. needs a good Flush!)
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Comment #9 Removed by Moderator

To: newgeezer
She thought her husband had removed them from the van? "There was some miscommunication"?

For FIVE HOURS?

I think something else is going on here. And I hope to God those kids weren't turned over to meet their death at the hands of a foster parent for some piddly little infraction involving the birth parents.

But, then again, this IS California.

10 posted on 07/09/2003 11:00:56 AM PDT by JennysCool
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To: MaxPlus305
I doubt evil, if you mean in the sense that she wanted her kids to die. That's kind of a dumb way to do it.

I would guess "evil" in the sense of not being concerned about anything or anyone but one's self and one's tasks.

11 posted on 07/09/2003 11:01:53 AM PDT by Onelifetogive
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To: areafiftyone
To me this is as simple as "You don't leave your child unattended in the bathtub," or "You don't let your child play with light sockets," or "Don't play with matches." What kind of DUMB, STUPID, IDIOTIC, MORON cannot understand that leaving a child or animal in a locked, un-airconditioned car for any amount of time is dangerous? Some people should not be allowed to breed.
12 posted on 07/09/2003 11:02:12 AM PDT by admiralsn (optional, printed after your name on post)
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Comment #13 Removed by Moderator

To: Pan_Yans Wife
Poor,poor babies. They're born to someone that can't take care of them, and then they get stuck with this imbecile.

Maybe we should forget about spreading our tax money to Palestinians, Africans and illegal immigrants, and spend it on screening foster parents and fixing our child protection system. This stinks.
14 posted on 07/09/2003 11:03:46 AM PDT by Lijahsbubbe
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To: newgeezer
As sick as it may sound, I would pay to see this woman locked in a car in 120º heat for 5 hours. I'd just keep telling her, "Well I think your husband is supposed to get you out."
15 posted on 07/09/2003 11:05:15 AM PDT by admiralsn (optional, printed after your name on post)
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To: admiralsn
Some people should not be allowed to breed.

The bad thing is this lady was in charge of the Day Care! In charge of all those kids! That Day Care should be investigated and closed down if need be!

16 posted on 07/09/2003 11:07:52 AM PDT by areafiftyone (The U.N. needs a good Flush!)
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To: areafiftyone
how in the f*** could anyone leave a kid in a car for 5 hours?
17 posted on 07/09/2003 11:08:45 AM PDT by smadurski
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To: newgeezer
Would it be inappropriate to "Forget" to let her out of the squad car? It'd be a shame to waste a nice sunny July afternoon such as this.
18 posted on 07/09/2003 11:08:54 AM PDT by sociotard (I am the one true Sociotard)
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To: newgeezer
She should be put locked in a steam closet or sauna which is turned on high for about 12 hrs and see if she likes it. But Life + 100 years for stupidity in San Quentin should suffice.
19 posted on 07/09/2003 11:10:08 AM PDT by DarthVader
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To: smadurski
I don't know. I freak out if I get too hot being outside for more than 1/2 hour - imagine what these kids went thru! This is sooo sick!
20 posted on 07/09/2003 11:11:13 AM PDT by areafiftyone (The U.N. needs a good Flush!)
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To: All
Conflicting facts in the 2 stories: Sloppy journalism?
21 posted on 07/09/2003 11:11:14 AM PDT by newgeezer (Just my opinion, of course. Your mileage may vary.)
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To: admiralsn
I agree with that sentiment 100%

and if you think about what happened, it could well be the perfect crime- not intentional murder, but death by oops!

22 posted on 07/09/2003 11:11:29 AM PDT by Vesuvian
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To: newgeezer
Naeemah Edwards, whose daughter attended the center, told KABC-TV she was shocked. ``They come in with my daughter, and they play together,'' she said, adding that she would not let her child to return to the center.

Well there is at least ONE smart parent out there.

23 posted on 07/09/2003 11:12:43 AM PDT by admiralsn (optional, printed after your name on post)
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To: Vesuvian
And this will probably lessen her sentence, or save her sorry self altogether with a sympathetic jury. The ol' "it's not MY fault, it's his" routine.
24 posted on 07/09/2003 11:14:52 AM PDT by admiralsn (optional, printed after your name on post)
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To: areafiftyone
I wont even leave my baby daughter in the car for a minute by herself.
25 posted on 07/09/2003 11:15:36 AM PDT by smadurski
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To: newgeezer
POSSIBLY manslaughter??? Lock her in an SUV and leave it in the desert. But first take away her foster care priveledges, any other kids she might have, revoke her day care license and condemn the building for good measure.
26 posted on 07/09/2003 11:17:14 AM PDT by agrace
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To: admiralsn
Totally agree.
27 posted on 07/09/2003 11:17:46 AM PDT by lawgirl (God's divine and all-knowing punishment for the Clintons: America loves George W. Bush)
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To: newgeezer
My husband and I had 4 children, and not once did we leave one in a car by forgetting them. They were the first things we took out of the car, not the last. This is utterly barbaric. I just can't figure out why a foster mother would do this on purpose. On the other hand, didn't she wonder why things were so quiet for so long? This is negligence. Zzzzzzzzzzztttt! Where's Old Sparky?
28 posted on 07/09/2003 11:18:17 AM PDT by Clara Lou (WHEN IM PRESIDENT, WELL HAVE EXECUTIVE ORDERS to overcome any wrong thing the Supreme Court does)
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To: smadurski
Even if my kids wanted to stay in the car I would take them inside kicking and screaming if necessary. Our fostercare system needs to be scrutinized. But then again how many times has it happened to kids who weren't foster kids. Some women should never be mothers period!
29 posted on 07/09/2003 11:18:58 AM PDT by areafiftyone (The U.N. needs a good Flush!)
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To: newgeezer
``She indicated she thought someone else was going to get the children out of the car, possibly her husband,'' Los Angeles County sheriff's Lt. Al Grotefend said. ``There was some miscommunication.''

So maybe her husband (or whomever) was also at the center and she left the kids in the car and assumed he would go get them. Why not check after- oh, I don't know, an HOUR?!?! OR, perhaps he was to come by and pick them up and take them somewhere else. Why could they not have come inside to wait? What a sorry excuse for a parent, much less a foster parent.

30 posted on 07/09/2003 11:19:06 AM PDT by admiralsn (optional, printed after your name on post)
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To: newgeezer
Sloppy journalism?
Or is Smoot simply a liar?
31 posted on 07/09/2003 11:19:42 AM PDT by Clara Lou (WHEN IM PRESIDENT, WELL HAVE EXECUTIVE ORDERS to overcome any wrong thing the Supreme Court does)
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To: jodenkoekje
Who are the Haredim,and why do they do this?
32 posted on 07/09/2003 11:19:44 AM PDT by Mears
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To: wideawake
Guys it's not the poor womans fault. It belongs to the "hot SUV". If you don't believe me, listen to Paul Harvey today. After he beat up the president over the war issue , he went on to this story and stressed it was not just a car but an SUV. Made me want to throw up. Poor babies.
33 posted on 07/09/2003 11:24:07 AM PDT by CindyDawg
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To: areafiftyone
Even if my kids wanted to stay in the car I would take them inside kicking and screaming if necessary.

Exactly! Who can't see that? Who doesn't understand that? Not only because of the heat, a $40,000 car is NOT a toy to be played with or in, whether a parent is present or not.

34 posted on 07/09/2003 11:24:13 AM PDT by admiralsn (Some people are just plain ol' idjits!)
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To: CindyDawg
I am sure all of that extra gas in the tank helped to heat the thing up even more. And the extra metal on the SUV made things worse.
35 posted on 07/09/2003 11:25:48 AM PDT by admiralsn (Some people are just plain ol' idjits!)
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To: jodenkoekje
Who are the Haredim?
36 posted on 07/09/2003 11:28:42 AM PDT by A_perfect_lady (Let them eat cake.)
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To: jodenkoekje
(The Haredim have a reputation for doing this a lot there.)

How many times is "a lot"? Once? Twice? How is it typical? Does it never happen to anyone else?

There have been a few cases in Israel of secular Jews dousing their children with gasoline and setting them on fire. So can I therefore say that seculars do this "a lot" and that they have a "reputation" for burning their kids alive?

I am haredi, I have 9 children and I have never left any one of them inside a hot car. I don't know anyone in my community who has done this. However there have been several incidents of yuppie professionals who have fried their kids in the hot SUV. Would you say that yuppie professionals "have a reputation" for frying their kids?

You need to read this article about the hot-car tragedy in Israel, which happened in 1999, before you go off half-cocked again with your peculiar bigotries.

Let's see now, you claim you are not a cookie, you despise religious Jews, but you have accused Pat Robertson of trying to destroy Judaism.

37 posted on 07/09/2003 11:30:05 AM PDT by Alouette
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To: Support Free Republic
The charge is MURDER.

NO excuses
38 posted on 07/09/2003 11:30:54 AM PDT by steplock
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To: CindyDawg
These was my first thoughts too. #1 I can't believe the CBS news story doesn't even mention that the car is an SUV, and #2, gee none of this would have happened if the lady just drove one of those electric hybrids /sarc
39 posted on 07/09/2003 11:33:59 AM PDT by lainie
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To: jodenkoekje
That's actually a good point. He may have been just behaving until he passed out.

In any event, someone who would just leave a five year old and a three year old to their own devices for five hours needs to be educated with an aluminum baseball bat for five hours.

40 posted on 07/09/2003 11:34:40 AM PDT by wideawake (God bless our brave soldiers and their Commander in Chief)
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BTW this story occurred about 15 miles away from my home. My nearest town is Lancaster. It was HOT yesterday (as it is every day out here).
41 posted on 07/09/2003 11:35:15 AM PDT by lainie
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To: Mears; Alouette
Mears: Haredim are Orthodox Jews.

Alouette - get a load of post 9.

42 posted on 07/09/2003 11:36:00 AM PDT by wideawake (God bless our brave soldiers and their Commander in Chief)
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To: wideawake
I can't imagine a normal five year old being unable to get out of a car.

When I was four, I unlocked the car door and opened it. While the car was on the freeway.

My grandmother instantly reached over with one hand, yanked me over the back seat and into the front, and gave me a serious spanking.

43 posted on 07/09/2003 11:36:10 AM PDT by hellinahandcart
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To: Alouette
Oh - I guess you already saw it.
44 posted on 07/09/2003 11:37:04 AM PDT by wideawake (God bless our brave soldiers and their Commander in Chief)
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To: wideawake
get a load of post 9

It is quite the pant load.

Alouette's response and link to Jerusalem Post article here

45 posted on 07/09/2003 11:40:09 AM PDT by Alouette
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Lancaster, CA forecast

TODAY

SUNNY.
WEST WINDS 15 TO 25 MPH THIS AFTERNOON.
HIGHS 102 TO 107.
46 posted on 07/09/2003 11:42:01 AM PDT by lainie
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To: wideawake
Back doors now have safety locks on them to prevent those on the inside from opening them. The child may have tried, but gave up before trying the front doors. Sad.
47 posted on 07/09/2003 11:44:09 AM PDT by IYAS9YAS (Go Fast, Turn Left!)
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To: jodenkoekje
Was not his mother. He was in foster care.
48 posted on 07/09/2003 11:45:17 AM PDT by IYAS9YAS (Go Fast, Turn Left!)
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To: jodenkoekje
How horrible. I thought I saw the last of those kind of stories when I left Israel. (The Haredim have a reputation for doing this a lot there.)

Now THAT might be Chutzpah - someone who lived in the only Jewish state prays as a Christian and combines normal ISRAELI behavior (cutting in lines) with criminal behavior and mistakenly calls them chutzpadich... and now pees on a thread about the tragedy of 2 dead children and slanders the ultra-religious with child abuse and neglect.

Before you get all huffy, why don't you find us any stories for the Haredim, as you say in your words "doing this a lot there."

(Chutzpah is not b*llsy behavior nor even simple hypocrisy but ironic evil: i.e., the guy who kills his parents, and then pleads to the court for mercy by claiming he is an orphan...)

49 posted on 07/09/2003 11:45:31 AM PDT by Yehuda (http://www.JewPoint.blogspot.com)
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