Ridgefield, CT (WFSB) — The office of the chief medical examiner has ruled the death for a toddler that was left in a hot car in Ridgefield last month a homicide.
Police said 15-month-old Benjamin Seitz died after being left alone in his father’s car.
Kyle Seitz, who is the child’s father, was supposed to drop the child off at daycare, but instead went to work at a medical arts building on Grove Street.
When he eventually found the baby boy in the car, he drove the child to Danbury Hospital. However, Benjamin was pronounced dead.
Benjamin’s death was ruled a homicide with the cause of death being “hyperthermia due to environmental exposure.”
It is not clear how long the child was left alone in the car for.
Despite the ruling, Quinnipiac University law professor William Dunlap said not to read too much into it.
“That does not necessarily mean it’s a crime. What it means is that it was not natural causes, it wasn’t an accident,” Dunlap said. “If there is evidence that he did this intentionally, he could be charged with murder.”
Kyle Seitz has not been charged in the incident as of Thursday. Eyewitness News has reached out to the Ridgefield Police Department on Thursday and it released the following statement.
“After speaking with the Danbury State’s Attorney’s Office we were asked not to comment further on this case due to the fact that the investigation is ongoing,” the statement read.
State’s Attorney for Judicial District of Danbury Stephen J. Sedensky III also said in a statement on Thursday that his office “will have no comment on the status or details of the investigation including the autopsy report.”
“The autopsy report is one factor to be considered by the state’s attorney in the evaluation of the incident once the investigation is complete,” the statement went on to say.
This is a case that has drawn national attention in a summer where deaths in hot cars made headlines in part because Benjamin’s mother, Lindsey Rogers-Seitz, spoke out in recent weeks in hopes of raising awareness about heatstroke deaths.
Rogers-Seitz told CNN and The Associated Press that she stands by her husband and has started a blog in honor of her son in hopes of reminding other parents to be more careful.
The child advocacy group known as KidsAndCars.org stated that 18 children have already died in hot cars in 2014, according to a report released at the end of July.
The group has also started a We the People petition drive on the White House petition website. To sign it, click here.
The Connecticut State Police have recommended the following tips for preventing one of these incidents.