No indictment for child's death in hot van - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

No indictment for child's death in hot van

ROLLING FORK, Miss. (AP) - A Sharkey County grand jury has decided not to indict a day care worker accused in the death of a 19-month-old child who was left in a sweltering van in July.

The grand jury returned a "no bill" for Mirenda Frazier, the only person accused of criminal wrongdoing in the death of Kaleb Johnson.

District Attorney Gil Martin had hoped to prosecute Frazier, 30, on a manslaughter by culpable negligence charge in the July 2 death.

"Her case was presented and we debated for an hour and a half, which is a long time for a grand jury," Martin said.

Frazier had been free on bond since surrendering to authorities.

The question before grand jurors was not whether Frazier intentionally left the child in the van. Rather, it was whether forgetting him constituted a crime.

Grand jurors decided it was not, although Martin said a future panel could review the case if any new evidence is discovered, according to a www.vicksburgpost.com article.

Frazier, an escort on the Mississippi Christian Family Service van, was supposed to make sure all the children were off the bus, Martin has said.

Kaleb's parents filed a lawsuit in his death.

The Mississippi Christian Family Service offers an assortment of public programs for adults and children and has been operating since 1985.

According to reports, Johnson was left on the van in the morning and was not discovered until 3 p.m.

The 90-degree and higher temperatures that day in the Delta would have made temperatures inside the van climb to 135 degrees, an expert has said. An autopsy later showed that Kaleb died of extreme exposure to heat.

 

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