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12-year-old Utah boy dies after being left in hot car in American Fork

American Fork police said that a 12-year-old boy was found unresponsive in a hot car after he was left behind during transportation to a company meant to serve those with intellectual disabilities on Wednesday, July 21, 2021. (American Fork Police Department)

AMERICAN FORK — A 12-year-old boy died Wednesday after he was left inside a car parked near an American Fork business on a sweltering summer day, police said.

The boy was found in the car near Roost Services, 42 N. 200 East, which provides services for individuals with developmental disabilities, according to American Fork Police Lt. Josh Christensen. He was in the care of that facility when he was left behind by a staff member, he added.

Emergency personnel received the call about 1:22 p.m. and found the boy unresponsive in the car when they arrived to the scene, Christensen said. The boy had been left in the car for upwards of two hours.

Family members identified the boy as 12-year-old Joshua Hancey. Police initially said the boy was 9, but family members clarified he was 12.

Temperatures reached as high as 94 degrees in American Fork by afternoon, according to the National Weather Service, as an ongoing heat wave grips the region.

"It's an absolute tragic event that's very difficult for all those involved — staff, family, first responders — some of the officers and firefighters who responded were really affected," Christensen said.

Police are attempting to determine if Joshua was restrained, the car was child-locked, or if he was unable to get out of the car due to his disability.

Investigators are trying to determine whether there was a criminal element involved in the incident, Christensen said.

Contributing: Garna Mejia, KSL TV; Jacob Klopfenstein,


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