Police: Boy who died may have been in hot vehicle 3 hours

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LAS VEGAS (AP) — A 4-year-old boy who died in a stifling hot pickup truck in a Las Vegas home driveway might have been in the vehicle for up to three hours after his grandfather returned home with him on a sunny 100-degree day, authorities said Friday.

Police were called about 6:30 p.m. Thursday, and the boy was unresponsive when he was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead, Officer Laura Meltzer said.

The Clark County coroner identified the boy as Seth Franz. A cause and manner of his death wasn't immediately determined. The grandfather wasn't identified.

The black extended-cab Ford F-150 pickup remained parked Friday in the driveway of the stucco home with a blue and brown tile roof about 5 miles east of downtown. A woman who spoke through the closed front door declined to identify herself or talk with a reporter. A telephone message to the homeowner wasn't returned.

Meltzer said no arrests were made pending a child abuse and neglect investigation and a decision by the Clark County district attorney whether to file charges.

The child had been in the vehicle for two to three hours before he was discovered, a police statement said. That means investigators were able to determine that the child's grandfather returned home with the boy earlier than 5 p.m., as originally reported.

Other details weren't made public. It wasn't clear if the boy was wearing a seatbelt or in a car seat, or why he was unable to open the vehicle doors.

A Nevada law passed in 2005 after a spate of deaths and injuries to children in hot cars makes it a misdemeanor to leave a child under 7 unattended in a vehicle.

The head of the advocacy group and website KidsAndCars.org said the boy's death was the first in Nevada, but 16th of its kind in the nation this year.

"Don't think this can't happen to you and your family. That's the biggest mistake," said Janette Fennell, Philadelphia-based founder and president of the nonprofit. "Sometimes our memories just let us down."

In the last 20 years, over 700 children have died in hot cars in the U.S. Kidsandcars.com keeps statistics and accounts of injuries to children in and around vehicles. It tallied 34 hyperthermia deaths in 2012, 44 in 2013 and 31 last year.

Nevada ranks near the middle, at 19th, in the number of child vehicular heatstroke deaths in the U.S., Fennell said. Of the 15 fatalities in the state since 1996, 13 happened in Clark County, which includes Las Vegas.

Furnace-like summer temperatures are common in Nevada. The National Weather Service said Thursday was the 58th day that temperatures hit at least 100 degrees in Las Vegas in 2015.

Studies show temperatures in a closed vehicle rise 20 degrees in the first 10 minutes and 30 degrees within 20 minutes, Fennell said. After an hour, temperatures in a vehicle can be 50 degrees higher than outside.

"People shouldn't think keeping a window open makes much of a difference," Fennell said. "It doesn't."

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