America has seen its 28th death of a child left in a hot car this year, according to the Kids and Cars nonprofit, with the latest death occurring on Saturday in Phoenix. In that case, 3-year-old Hayden Nelson was allegedly left in a car outside Abundant Life Church for several hours by a family friend. Police explain the timeline, via the Arizona Republic: The child, mother Tiffani Nelson, and an 8-year-old sister spent the night at Courtney Arnold's home. Arnold and Nelson both had choir practice to attend; because Nelson had to get there early, Arnold, 27, agreed to bring her own daughter, along with Nelson's kids, later.
AZFamily.com reports that Arnold arrived around 11am. In an emailed statement, police say "indications are the suspect was a bit late and she and the other children exited the car. The suspect went immediately into the church for practice." Hayden was somehow left behind and spent three hours in the vehicle before his mother and churchmembers began searching for him. Outside temps at the time were as high as 96 degrees. The boy had stopped breathing, and died Sunday in the hospital. Prosecutors are still considering whether to bring charges against Arnold, though Officer James Holmes paints it as a tragic accident: "It's obvious that the 27-year-old forgot that the child was in the car. She was in a hurry. She had something that she had to do, and she didn't take a minute to make sure." (Read more child dies in hot car stories.)