Cause of death of Wichita Falls 4-year-old found in vehicle determined

Local News

UPDATE: July 30, 2020, 12:57 p.m.

The death of a four-year-old Wichita Falls boy found in a car on July 18, 2020, is determined to be caused by hyperthermia.

On Saturday, July 18, 2020, Wichita Falls police officers responded to a check welfare call on Reynolds Lane due to an unresponsive child.

“The younger child who is four-years-old wandered off and just didn’t alert anybody about walking out of the house,” WFPD Sgt. Charlie Eipper said. “Once they determined the child was missing from the house they went looking around and one of the grandparents checked the car and found the child in the backseat.”

The child was then transported by ambulance to United Regional where he was pronounced dead. On Thursday, the cause and manner of death were released.

“It’s been found that the cause of death is hyperthermia and the manner of death is going to be accidental,” Eipper said. “It’s a tragic thing.”

Director of kidsandcars.org, Amanda Rollins said the number of kids making their way into vehicles on their own has gone up.

“This year we are actually seeing a much higher rate of children that are dying in hot cars that got in on their own,” Rollins said. “Normally we see about 25% of hot car fatalities with kiddos that gained access to a vehicle. This year we are seeing 43% of the fatalities are children that got in on their own.”

According to Rollins, this is due to several reasons including the pandemic.

“People are keeping their children at home more days of the week and the more hours spent at home the higher the risk for children sneaking out of the house and getting into a vehicle and not being able to get back out,” Rollins said.

Eipper said he understands the struggle of watching multiple kids at one time, but he does have some tips to help prevent this from happening in the future.

“Locking doors on cars,” Eipper said. “Making sure places where these children can get into and then would be prohibited of getting out or restricted somehow. It’s a good thing to do, is go ahead and lock places up like that.”

Rollins also said the first place you want to check is the floorboards, inside and trunk of a car first if you notice a child missing. She said a child’s body temperature rises faster than an adult and you could have a disaster in a very short amount of time.

UPDATE: July 30, 2020, 8:53 a.m.

The cause of death of the 4-year-old found in a vehicle on July 18, 2020, was determined to be Hyperthermia and the manner of death was ruled to be accidental. That is according to the detective assigned to the investigation.

The child was not left in the vehicle by the adults that were on scene.

It is believed the child left the house and entered the unlocked car, WFPD reported nothing suspicious was found surrounding the death and no charges are being filed. The temperature outside the vehicle that day was 97 degrees.

Good Calculators has released an Inside Car Temperature Calculator.


WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — A 4-year-old Wichita Falls boy has died after sneaking into a car over the weekend.

According to WFPD officers responded to Reynolds Lane on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. in reference to a check welfare call on an unresponsive child.

Officers said the child wandered away from the house and the adults there later noticed he was missing.

Officers searched the area and found the child in a vehicle located on the driveway unresponsive.

The child was transported by ambulance to the United Regional where he was pronounced dead. 

The investigation is still pending according to officials.

Stick with Texoma’s Homepage as this story develops.

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