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Man Charged in Toddler’s Heat Death

August 3, 2001

ST. LOUIS (AP) _ A father who fell asleep and left his 19-month-old daughter in the family Jeep for hours in the blazing sun was charged Thursday with involuntary manslaughter.

Prosecutors said Joseph Shade, 24, left his daughter Marquita in the vehicle July 23 while the heat index rose above 100 degrees.

Shade had told Marquita’s three sisters _ ages 7 to 11 _ to bring the baby inside, authorities said. He had been suffering for days with a toothache.

Marquita was unresponsive when her mother came home about three hours later. She died in a hospital.

``If this were a situation where a baby sitter or daycare center did the same thing, everybody would believe that person should be charged,″ prosecutor Mark Fisher said. ``We ought to have the same standards on parents _ even more so.″

Shade has an unlisted home phone number and could not be reached for comment. If convicted on the involuntary manslaughter count, he faces up to five years in prison and $5,000 in fines.

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