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Dad charged after baby dies in hot car in US

August 30, 2013

PHOENIX (AP) — A U.S. father whose infant son died after being left in a parked car in the summertime heat was smoking marijuana next to the car with a co-worker part of the time, police said.

Daniel Bryant Gray, 31, was booked into an Arizona jail late Thursday, charged with manslaughter and child abuse, Sgt. Tommy Thompson said.

Police said 3-month-old Jamison Dean Gray was pronounced dead at a hospital Wednesday. At first, police said the father was distracted and forgot about the boy.

However, a court document released Friday said investigators learned from an unidentified witness that Gray and another employee had been standing next to Gray’s car and apparently smoking marijuana.

The employee, who was not identified by police, said he didn’t notice the baby in the car and didn’t know Gray was a father.

“There’s no question” that Gray didn’t intend his son to die, a prosecutor said Friday during an initial court hearing. However, Gray has a criminal history of substance abuse, and he was grossly negligent, Deputy Maricopa County Attorney George Kelemen Jr. said.

“The state believes the tragedy that occurred Wednesday is not simply an unavoidable mistake of a thoughtful parent,” Kelemen told a judge.

Gray doesn’t yet have an attorney. He remained jailed Friday in lieu of $100,000 bond.

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