Baby Boy Found Dead in Hot Car at Naval Base, Dad Charged

A father who worked on a Naval base has been arrested and charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of his 17-month-old son, whom he left in a hot car for six hours. John Junek, 40, told investigators that he was supposed to drop his child off at daycare on the Patuxent River Naval Station in Lexington Park, Maryland, but that he forgot the boy was in the car. The story is eerily similar to that of Justin Ross Harris, who was indicted today on murder charges for leaving his 22-month-old son, Cooper, in a hot car after forgetting to drop him off at daycare.


According to investigative documents, Junek twice used his vehicle during the day to drive around the base to attend meetings but still did not see his son, who was left in a rear-facing seat. He only remembered the child when his wife around 3 p.m. called to ask a question about the car seat. Junek would have last been in the car an hour before that.

At that point, he reportedly called 911, but the child was pronounced dead at the scene. Temperatures had reached 85 degrees on the day in question, and children can't regulate their temperatures in the way adults can.

According to his Facebook profile, Junek is an engineer with the U.S. Navy.

Despite reportedly getting in his car twice to drive and not seeing his child, the charge of involuntary manslaughter makes it clear that authorities at the Naval Criminal Investigative Service don't believe Junek had intent to kill his son. This differs from Harris, who prosecutors allege drove his car some distance after his workday, despite his son having already expired. In that case, they allege that he must have smelled his son's death. This doesn't seem to be the belief with Junek.

He could face eight years in prison if convicted.


Image via colinleonog/Flickr

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