Murder charge filed against Havasu dad who left daughter in hot car
A Lake Havasu City man accused of allowing his 20-month-old daughter to die in a hot car Saturday is now facing second-degree murder and felony child abuse charges.
The girl’s father, 23-year-old Ty Martin, was initially charged with manslaughter, but after examining the facts of the case, the Mohave County Attorney’s Office made the changes.
“The facts support the charges,” Deputy County Attorney Megan McCoy said. “Although it’s still an accidental death, it relates to the amount of recklessness displayed and the extreme indifference to the child.”
McCoy said Martin could face either life in prison or 13 to 27 years if he is convicted of second degree murder. The child abuse charge carries a penalty of 10 to 24 years for a conviction.
According to the Mohave County Medical Examiner’s Office, 20-month-old Madison Grace Martin’s death was ruled accidental after an exam Tuesday. The causes were hyperthermia and dehydration.
Police said Martin left his daughter unattended in a car while visiting a friend, who was also charged in a subsequent marijuana grow operation.
Hyperthermia, also known as heat stroke, occurs when the body temperature reaches 105 degrees, according to health.harvard.edu. Hyperthermia symptoms may include nausea, vomiting or seizures. Dehydration occurs when the body doesn’t have enough fluid to carry out its normal functions, according to mayoclinic.com. The condition is considered very dangerous for young children.
According to Lake Havasu City Police, officers were called to the area of Cadet Lane and McCulloch Boulevard at 1:25 p.m. Saturday, May 11, for a report of an unresponsive child. When they arrived, officers learned that Martin had allegedly left his daughter unattended in his car for approximately 45 minutes to an hour while visiting his friend, 23-year-old Noah Grabowski in the 40 block of Tailstar Lane.
Officers immediately began CPR on the unresponsive child until the fire department arrived and transported her to the hospital. Unfortunately, she never recovered, and she was pronounced deceased a short time later.
Lt. Shane Sloma said Martin told officers he didn’t remember if he left the car running or if the air conditioning was in use. The child was left in a rear-facing car seat in the back seat of the car.
Additionally, 23-year-old Noah Grabowski was arrested and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of marijuana, and cultivation of marijuana after a search warrant related to the manslaughter investigation was served at Grabowski’s residence in the 40 block of Talistar Lane.
Martin is in Mohave County Jail on $500,000 bond.
Sloma said Martin allegedly admitted to smoking marijuana at Grabowski’s residence. He also said it was a small grow operation.
“This incident is tragic for everyone involved, and completely avoidable,” Sloma said. “The Lake Havasu City Police Department would like to remind everyone that it is never acceptable to leave a child unattended inside of a motor vehicle. Inside temperatures can spike rapidly, even with the air conditioner running. Also an unattended child inside of a vehicle, running or not, could be subjected to a host of other dangers.”
Reporter Scott Shindledecker can be reached at 928-453-4237, ext. 252 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.