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‘Heartbreaking’ End to Amber Alert Search: Boy Found Dead in Hot Car

Police think the death of a Michigan boy with Down Syndrome was a tragic accident in a summer marked by at least 19 deaths of infants or toddlers in hot cars.

A seven-hour search for a 5-year-old Port Huron boy came to a heartbreaking conclusion when he was found dead inside a neighbor's hot car. (Screenshot: WDIV, Channel 4, video)
A seven-hour search for a 5-year-old Port Huron boy came to a heartbreaking conclusion when he was found dead inside a neighbor's hot car. (Screenshot: WDIV, Channel 4, video)

“Little D,” as 5-year-old Derrick Holmon was known, was found dead in a hot car in what Port Huron police believe was a tragic accident.

The youngster, who has Down Syndrome, was reported missing about 8:30 a.m. Friday and was found seven hours later in a neighbor’s car in the 2500 block of Manuel Street after an extensive search by about 60 area law enforcement officers after an Amber Alert was issued to find him, WDIV, Channel 4, reports.

“It’s heartbreaking for it to end this way,” Port Huron Police Capt. Jeff Baker said, according to a report in  the Detroit Free Press.

Police said the parents of the boy said they saw him playing about 8:30 a.m., but when they woke again, they couldn’t find him.

Police think the boy died from the heat after getting into the car, which was parked two houses down from his parents’ home.

Already this summer, there have been a rash of deaths of babies left in hot cars to die, including three cases of children left in hot cars in a 24-hour period in Connecticut alone. There have been at least 19 cases reported so far in 2014, including the troubling story of a Georgia man accused of intentionally leaving his 22-month-old son in the car for the better part of a day.


Alice A. Kulek July 13, 2014 at 02:13 PM
Don't feel sorry for me, keep your sorrow for the dead child. I am very fortunate that my husband and I are good parents and did not roll over and go back to sleep while our kids were up playing...and then get outside. WTH? There were 2 people and neither one of them could drag themselves out of bed for their kid? Give me a break. Yes, this was horrible...for the child. He is the victim. He baked to death. If you lay in bed when your child is unsupervised, someone should be looking out for you. I will stand as an advocate for the child and you can defend and stand by the parents responsible for his death. Sad!!!!
michelle July 15, 2014 at 10:11 AM
Wow, I love all the perfect people. When my son was little he would get out of bed and go watch cartoons in the morning before we even got up. We didn't know when he was going to get up and he didn't wake us. We did know he like to watch cartoons so we would set the TV to that when we went to bed. When we did get up he was sitting there watching the TV and nibbling on cereal. He is 14 now and perfectly healthy, smart and independent. He didn't need me to watch him EVERY single second. I mean what do you parents do when you have to go to the bathroom? Are you up when the kids go to bed and as soon as they get up in the morning? The kids are never up before you? If they are do you handcuff them to the bed or lock them in a padded room so they can't possibly get into anything? This was a very unfortunate accident. I didn't see anywhere that it said the child was outside when they woke up. My understanding was that he was playing inside and they thought he was safe. Maybe they should have made sure the doors to get out were more secure (if there was a habit of him going out on his own). Maybe because of his special needs his parents did have to watch him better; I don't pretend to know their situation and their child. I just know in my own case, my son was ok being up while I still slept. He was so quiet I didn't even know he was up. If he needed something he would wake me. This doesn't make me a bad parent. When my son was 2 I was working full time and finishing my college degree. I didn't get very much sleep and was very tired. I'm sure the parents feel terrible and what happened is terrible and they have to live with this. I'm not saying there wasn't anything they could have done. We don't know if this child had a history of sneaking out like that or if he was always playing within sight. Maybe this was a one time, freak accident. Unless you are perfect you don't need to bash others. I'm ok with my parenting style. Maybe you think I am too lax but my child does pretty well and always has. He even made me hot (oh my gosh he could burn himself) soup the other day when I was sick. I'm there if he needs me and he has rules but I'm not hovering over him all of the time either.

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