“The father thought the boy was with mom, mom thought the boy was with dad,” and Medford Police Lt. Kerry Curtis says by the time the 6-year-old boys parents realized he was missing, 40 minutes, to an hour, may have passed.
“In their search for him a cell phone was located in the backseat of the car,” Lt. Curtis explains, “the parents knew he had been playing with the cell phone. That led them to the trunk where he was located, unresponsive, and had signs of heat exhaustion.”
The boy was rushed to the hospital. He remains in critical condition in Portland. Police say at this point it appears to be a tragic accident. They’re hoping new information will provide them the answers everyone is searching for.
“We do have some [surveillance] video that we’re reviewing,” Lt. Curtis says, “hopefully that gives us more insight into how and why the boy was in the trunk.”
Police say it’s unclear if the vehicle had safety releases in place. They say even if it had, a young child might not know what it is or how it works. But one step all parents can take, is to keep cars locked.
“When you’re not in it, make sure the doors are locked,” Lt. Curtis says.
A simple step, police say, could help other parents avoid the same heartache.
“Most if not all of us [at MPD] have children, and we put ourselves in those shoes and it hurts us too,” Lt. Curtis says, “it is tragic, and to see a young life like that in such a horrible situation it’s traumatizing to all of us.”
Medford police say while the boy is still in critical condition, doctors tell them he is improving and they are “optimistic.”
According to KidsAndCars.org:
· Children should not be left alone or unsupervised around vehicles for even a few minutes.
· Never leave your car keys or key fob where children can access them.
· Always make sure your car is locked so that children cannot access a car or trunk unsupervised.
· Do not underestimate your children’s capabilities. If there is a way in, they will figure it out.
· Teach your children about the dangers of a car, especially the car trunk.
· Arm your children with the facts. Practice escape techniques.
· If your child is put into the trunk, make sure that they know how to locate the glow-in-the-dark trunk release. If there is NOT a trunk release they should yank out the tail light wires. Instruct them to kick out the brake light fixture and signal for help with their hand through the broken brake light fixture. If the police stop the car, bang on the trunk and scream.
To learn more visit http://www.kidsandcars.org/.
Executive Producer Kristin Hosfelt anchors NBC5 News weeknights at 5 and 6. Originally from the Bay Area, Kristin earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Broadcast Journalism from San Jose State University.
She came to KOBI-TV/NBC5 from Bangor, Maine where she was the evening news anchor. Kristin has won multiple journalism awards including Best Feature Reporting in the State of Maine. In 2017, her investigation on lead pipes in Medford’s water system was named Best News Series by the Oregon Association of Broadcasters.
When Kristin is not sharing the news, she’s traveling, hunting down the best burrito, or buried in a Jodi Picoult novel. She’s also a Green Bay Packers shareholder; if you see her out and about she’d be happy to tell you the story of how a California girl became a cheesehead.