HARTFORD, Conn. – The death of a 15-month-old boy who was left in a hot car in July has been ruled a homicide, the office of the state medical examiner said Thursday.
The medical examiner determined that Benjamin Seitz died of hyperthermia due to environmental exposure.
The toddler’s father, Kyle Seitz of Ridgefield, was supposed to take him to day care July 7. Police say he instead went to work and left the boy inside the car for an “extended period of time” as temperatures climbed into the upper 80s. He took the boy to the hospital after finding him in the car.
Ridgefield police Capt. Jeff Kreitz told WTNH-TV on Thursday that detectives plan to meet with prosecutors to discuss the medical examiner’s findings.
A police investigation into the death is continuing.
“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,” said Stephen Sedensky III, the state’s attorney for the Danbury area.
The boy’s mother, Lindsey Rogers-Seitz, told The Associated Press last month that her husband is a good father and she forgives him.
Rogers-Seitz, an attorney who also has two daughters, has set up a website in her son’s memory to raise awareness of the danger of leaving children alone in cars on warm days.
More than three dozen children die of hyperthermia in cars annually in the United States, and more than 600 children have died in hot cars since 1998. Heatstroke can happen when the temperature is as low as 57 degrees, and car interiors can reach well over 110 degrees even when the outside temperature is in the 60s.