SC toddler's parents charged in hot-car death

Associated PressJuly 10, 2014 

— A South Carolina couple arrested on neglect charges after leaving their kid in a hot car told police that they forgot the toddler was in the vehicle when they returned home from church, according to reports obtained by The Associated Press on Thursday.

Joe Kennedy, 57, said he and his wife, Ruthene Kennedy, 44, each thought the other had removed the child from the car May 25, according to the police reports.

Kennedy said the couple got to their Florence home about 5 p.m., then realized more than an hour later that the child was not inside.

When they went out to their pickup truck, the found 13-month-old Jeremiah Kennedy sweaty and experiencing seizures, according to the reports. They sent their two other children next door to family and drove the toddler to the hospital.

The high temperature in Florence that day was 86 degrees. The child died three days later.

Deputies met the Kennedys at a Florence hospital. They took the child's diaper as evidence and impounded the couple's 2011 Chevrolet Silverado.

The child had no visible injuries and an autopsy indicated the boy died from hyperthermia, coroner Keith von Lutcken said.

Sheriff's Maj. Mike Nunn did not say why the boy had been left in the car.

It was not clear whether the Kennedys, who were arrested Wednesday, have attorneys. No one was at the couple's home Thursday. Next door, a family member declined to comment or identify himself, and several children and scattered playground equipment were in the yard.

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