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Attorney: Dad of 3-month-old left in hot car in Upper St. Clair to be charged

CBS Pittsburgh
CBS Pittsburgh
 2022-08-10

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Attorney: Dad of 3-month-old left in hot car in Upper St. Clair charged 03:13

UPPER ST. CLAIR, Pa. (KDKA) — The father of a 3-month-old child who was left in a hot car is now facing charges.

A warrant has been issued for the arrest of Khang Nguyen in connection with the death of his son, Kayden Nguyen, in Upper St. Clair in June. The warrant and the charges have not been made public, but KDKA-TV has confirmed the warrant.

On a hot day in June, police and paramedics found the lifeless body of Kayden Nguyen in a child seat in the back of his father's minivan.

His father told police that he had gone to work and inadvertently forgotten he had left the child in the minivan, where he died after hours of high temperatures. Despite the medical examiner's ruling that the child's death from hypothermia was accidental, attorney Bill Difenderfer says county police are charging Khang Nguyen criminally.

"We are so pleased the medical examiner ruled the way they did. I interviewed this guy thoroughly and all of his family members and there's no question it is a horrific accident," Difenderfer said.

The Allegheny County Police Department and the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office aren't commenting, but KDKA-TV confirmed a warrant has been issued and charges have been filed, though court papers won't be released publically for 72 hours.

Difenderfer confirms his client has been charged with involuntary manslaughter, endangerment of the welfare of a child and recklessly endangering another person.

"He is just a wreck," Difenderfer said. "You can imagine the guilt that he feels. It's just horrific."

In the absence of a statement or an affidavit of cause, the case against the man is not known beyond the basic facts. Difenderfer says at trial, prosecutors would have to prove criminal negligence.

"They're going to have the sympathy of the child, where so many people, anyone you run this by goes, 'How could that happen?' But I think when they hear from the experts and see all the cases, oh, it can happen," Difenderfer said.

The boy is one of 14 child deaths in hot cars this year, which average close to 40 deaths a year. But rather than punishment, the group Kidsandcars.org advocates for public education and things like motion and heat sensors in cars to alert people that a child is present.

And while the group believes all cases should be thoroughly investigated, it's against charges when the death is unintentional.

"We feel in cases when a child was unintentionally, unknowingly left behind in a vehicle and died that criminal charges really aren't necessary," Amber Rollins of Kidsandcars.org said. "In fact, they just serve to further traumatize everybody involved."

Difenderfer said he is now making arraignments to turn his client in. He expects this will happen on Wednesday.

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