Seth Jackson was charged Wednesday with first and second degree murder after his 10-month-old foster daughter died in a hot car on July 24, NBC News reported.
Jakcson is being held in Sedgwick County Jail and a judge has set his bail at $250,000. If convicted of the first-degree murder charge, he faces life in prison.
Police said that Jackson, 29, had “somehow forgotten” that he had left his foster daughter strapped in the car seat after picking her up from daycare. She died after being left in the car for two hours on a 90-degree day.
Jackson’s lawyer told NBC News that his client has been “overcharged” He said:
“Rather high for a mistake. I’m not trying to say it’s not a horrible loss. The death of a child is an awful thing. But this person is looking at 15 more years than someone who was driving drunk and ran into a car and killed someone.”
The girl was left in the car outside the home in which she was being raised by her foster parents: two men aged 26 and 29.
The men, whose names have not been released, were questioned and the older one was booked on a charge of child endangerment.
Authorities said the child had been picked up from the babysitter at around 4 p.m. on Thursday and was “somehow forgotten inside of the vehicle.”
According to NBC News:
After two hours had passed, one of the parents saw something on television that made him remember the baby girl, ran outside and got the child out of the car seat and brought her into the home.
Police got a 911 call about a child unconscious and not breathing, and were on the scene within minutes. The baby was pronounced dead at 6:49 p.m.
Lt. Todd Ojile said that her foster parents were “extremely upset.” A neighbor, Lindey TenEyck, told NBC News that the men had adopted two children and had four foster children before they took in the infant girl a few months ago.
“They are two of the most kind-hearted guys that I have ever met,” said TenEyck. “And I hate that there’s so much controversy right now with babies being left in the car because I truly don’t feel from the bottom of my heart they would ever do this on purpose.”
After the ambulance and police cars converged, the neighbor said that one of the men was on the ground in the fetal position “mentally breaking down” and “hysterical.”
“There is no doubt in my mind he will suffer for the rest of his life in his mind,” she said.
On an average, 38 children die in overheated vehicles every year in the U.S., according to a BBC report.