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Dolgeville baby's tragic death: Is it Criminal?

By JOLEEN FERRIS

UPDATE: An autopsy on the 15-month-old baby girl who died after being left in a car in Dolgeville on Wednesday is complete.
 
The Herkimer County District Attorney says the manner of death was determined to be accidental.  
 
The cause of death: hyperthermia and dehydration due to exposure to hot confined environment (auto passenger compartment for hours).  
 
Original story below:

 
(WKTV) - Herkimer County prosecutors face a difficult choice in the days ahead; was the death in Dolgeville of a 15-month-old baby girl just a tragic accident....or criminal?  
     
The child died after her father forgot her in the car and went to work. She was in there for nearly seven hours.  It's possible that early-morning confusion sparked by a different routine contributed to the tragedy. 
      
"It's extremely sensitive obviously it's difficult, it's a difficult decision to make. The facts of this particular case aren't that cut & dry. My understanding to date is the procedure that was used yesterday involving this child is not done every day so it's not something that there was a routine.  It's more like on a weekly basis," says Herkimer County District Attorney Jeffrey Carpenter. 
     
An autopsy is expected to be performed on the child on Friday in order to determine the exact cause of death.  Once Carpenter has the results of that and all the evidence and information gathered by state police, he will determine whether there will be criminal prosecution.  Admittedly, not an easy task.
   
"Difficulty we have in a case like this is it invokes anger, outrage from people who that just can't believe it could happen and it's a situation that we have to look at very carefully and if a crime has been committed we'll make the determination to prosecute or not."
    
Carpenter expects to have all the pertinent information by the end of the day Friday, but says it will likely take longer than that to make a decision on criminal prosecution.
    

Dolgeville Police and the school district are offering grief counseling at the school on Friday for first responders and family.  

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