Michael Thedford, a 33-year-old father who lives in Texas, was dropping two of his children off at daycare when he noticed that his infant was feeling a little feverish.
So he did what any parent would do: he took the 6-month-old home.
After rushing home, he went inside to take a nap for about 4 hours.
There was just one horrific problem. He’d left his daughter in the van.
Temperatures raised to a stifling 95 degrees, with the baby stuck in the hot Texas sun for hours.Image Credit: Screenshot/Inside Edition
When Thedford awoke, he immediately realized what he’d done. The father of three rushed to the van, where he found his infant, named Fern, “stiff” and “hot as a brick.”
Before calling authorities, Michael Thedford had an outrageous idea to try to save his unresponsive daughter.
He placed the baby in the refrigerator, leaving her there for an indeterminate amount of time. But it was too late. Tragically, the child was already dead.
Thedford was arrested by authorities and charged with manslaughter, then released on a $20,000 bond.
Neighbor Fabiola Contreras spoke to Fox4 News about the gruesome incident:
“[Detectives] used a Mickey Mouse type of doll for him to show what happened,” she said.
“It’s kind of shocking how this happened because on Sunday we saw family members and them having a good time for Father’s Day.”
According to WFAA, Thedford worked as a substitute science teacher in a local high school.
Bill Hemby, the assistant superintendent of Celina High School, spoke to to the news station about how much Thedford loves his children:
“We all had an understanding of how much he loved his children.
“We’re all in mourning, just like he is.”
Additionally, criminal attorney Todd Shapiro believes that the father has been overcharged.
He suggested that the incident was an accident, albeit a terrible one, and that the family is suffering enough:
“I think it’s going overboard. I think they’ve overcharged him, based on the facts of this case. That he acted in a reckless manner. I don’t think he consciously disregarded any unjustifiable risk in this case.”
“It looks like he tried to do CPR to resuscitate her to no avail, so it sounds like his actions were very much as a parent that was living out their very worst nightmare.”
Since 1990, about 700 children have died after being left in hot cars during the summer months.