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No charges will be filed in death of Dolgeville girl left in car

By Joleen Ferris

(WKTV) - Herkimer County District Attorney Jeffrey Carpenter has decided not to pursue criminal charges against the Dolgeville father whose 15-month-old daughter died after he forgot her in the car in early June.

"She was obviously well-cared for, well-nourished, well-dressed, clean, in a car seat secured properly," Carpenter said. "This was just simply a loss of memory with tragic results, and that's not prosecutable under our laws."

Sophia Lea Marie Lyon died of hyperthermia and dehydration due to exposure to a continued hot environment.  Carpenter says the child's father forgot her in the car during a busy June morning of shuttling multiple children to various locations.

"He had four children in his care, and they were being dropped off at three different locations. There was the switching of vehicles, so a lot contributed to this, but we could not find anything blameworthy on his part," said Carpenter.

Carpenter says the child's babysitter did text baby Sophia's mother, letting her know the baby never arrived at her house.  But the mother had no minutes left on her trac phone.  She did buy more time that morning, but not until 32 minutes after the babysitter texted her.  When you buy more minutes, you don't get the messages you missed while you were out of time.

While justice in this case does not involve feelings of victory or triumph, it is justice nonetheless, says Carpenter.

"The image of Sophia in that car seat is something I'll never forget. I don't believe I ever will forget her and I just believe I owed it to her to look at every single piece of evidence in this case, and this is the conclusion that I think is right."

For tips on how to avoid a tragedy like this one, visit www.nhtsa.gov.
 

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