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Charges may be filed in Davis tot’s death

Prosecutors, police to screen case of boy left in hot car

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FARMINGTON — Davis County prosecutors plan to meet with police to begin screening the case involving a 5-month-old Clearfield boy who died after being left in a sweltering hot car.

"It definitely warrants review for criminal charges," said Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings. "We'll review all the evidence and look at the facts and the legal standards and statutes that are applicable."

Police said Daniel Scott Hadley died last week after being left in a car while his mother was visiting a friend in Layton. She came out a couple of hours later, found the child unresponsive, tried to cool him down and drove him to the hospital. Temperatures in Layton were 89 degrees on June 17. Inside the car, it would have been 120 degrees.

Layton police said they are awaiting more information from the state medical examiner's office before going to prosecutors to decide what — if any — charges should be filed. Rawlings said he would not speculate on whether he would level charges against Hadley's mother, but said he would weigh the evidence as well as what makes "good public policy."

"If the facts and the circumstances and the law support charging, then yes we should and we will," he told the Deseret News on Tuesday. "I understand in cases like this it's horrible, tragic and people have suffered a ton, but we can't not charge just because somebody has suffered. On the other hand, we're not going to go out and charge just because somebody has died."

Any criminal charges could range from a misdemeanor negligent homicide to felony child abuse homicide charges.

Hadley's funeral was held on Tuesday in Clearfield. His is the second death in Utah this year related to a child being left in a hot car. In April, 18-month-old Myles Gailey died after being accidentally left in a car in Kearns. Police said his mother was unloading groceries and forgot her child.

On Tuesday, the Salt Lake District Attorney's Office said it has declined to file charges against anyone in connection with Gailey's death.

"There was insufficient evidence to support the filing of charges," district attorney's spokesman Nate Bryant said.

E-mail: bwinslow@desnews.com