Foster dad pleads guilty to involuntary manslaughter death of Wichita baby left in hot car



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WICHITA, Kansas — A foster dad pleaded guilty Wednesday to involuntary manslaughter for leaving a 10-month-old girl inside a sweltering car outside of his house in July while he and his partner smoked marijuana.

Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett has said Seth Jackson went to a drug dealer's house July 24 before picking up the girl from a baby sitter. After arriving home, he went inside with a 5-year-old child, but left the baby in the vehicle.

It was around 90 degrees outside, and police say the girl was inside the car with the windows up for more than two hours. An autopsy showed she died of hyperthermia due to heat exposure. Sedgwick County District Attorney's Office spokesman Dan Dillon said authorities are identifying the child only be her initials, which are K.P.J.

The affidavit said one of the foster parents realized that the baby was in the car when he heard a baby crying on a television show they were watching. The men rushed outside, Jackson unlocked the vehicle and his partner removed the child.

The partner told investigators the girl was hot and stiff when he carried her into the house. As he called 911, Jackson attempted CPR but could not get the child's mouth open, according to the affidavit.

Officers who responded found Jackson still on the phone when they arrived, making calls and repeatedly stating, "I left her in the car, she's dead, she's dead," according to the affidavit.

At a later interview at police headquarters, Jackson's partner told detectives he and Jackson had been the girl's foster parents since she was 2 weeks old and were trying to adopt her.

Jackson and his partner had five other children in their care, three young foster children — ages 3, 5 and 18— and two adopted children — ages 5 and 7. The two younger foster children were visiting other relatives at the time the 10-month-old died.

Sentencing is set for Jan. 30. Jackson could face 31 to 136 months in prison.

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