Death of Connecticut Baby Left Alone in Car Ruled Homicide

Benjamin Seitz died after being left in a hot car on July 7, 2014. (Courtesy: Lindsey Rogers-Seitz)

Benjamin Seitz died after being left in a hot car on July 7, 2014. (Courtesy: Lindsey Rogers-Seitz)

RIDGEFIELD, Connecticut — The office of the chief medical examiner has ruled the death for a toddler that was left in a hot car in Ridgefield last month a homicide.

Police said 15-month-old Benjamin Seitz died after being left alone in his father’s car.

Kyle Seitz, who is the child’s father, was supposed to drop the child off at daycare, but instead went to work at a medical arts building on Grove Street.

When he eventually found the baby boy in the car, he drove the child to Danbury Hospital. However, Benjamin was pronounced dead.

Benjamin’s death was ruled a homicide with the cause of death being “hyperthermia due to environmental exposure.”

It is not clear how long the child was left alone in the car for.

Despite the ruling, Quinnipiac University law professor William Dunlap said not to read too much into it.

“That does not necessarily mean it’s a crime. What it means is that it was not natural causes, it wasn’t an accident,” Dunlap said. “If there is evidence that he did this intentionally, he could be charged with murder.”

Kyle Seitz has not been charged in the incident as of Thursday. Eyewitness News has reached out to the Ridgefield Police Department on Thursday and it released the following statement.

“After speaking with the Danbury State’s Attorney’s Office we were asked not to comment further on this case due to the fact that the investigation is ongoing,” the statement read.

State’s Attorney for Judicial District of Danbury Stephen J. Sedensky III also said in a statement on Thursday that his office “will have no comment on the status or details of the investigation including the autopsy report.”

“The autopsy report is one factor to be considered by the state’s attorney in the evaluation of the incident once the investigation is complete,” the statement went on to say.

This is a case that has drawn national attention in a summer where deaths in hot cars made headlines in part because Benjamin’s mother, Lindsey Rogers-Seitz, spoke out in recent weeks in hopes of raising awareness about heatstroke deaths.

Rogers-Seitz told CNN and The Associated Press that she stands by her husband and has started a blog in honor of her son in hopes of reminding other parents to be more careful.

The child advocacy group known as KidsAndCars.org stated that 18 children have already died in hot cars in 2014, according to a report released at the end of July.

The group has also started a We the People petition drive on the White House petition website. To sign it, click here.

5 comments

      • Sue

        Val, are you thinking of the one in Atlanta? they said both parents had been searching the internet to see how long it would take a child to die when left in a car right before dad ‘forgot’ the baby in the car, even went out to the car during the work day and didn’t notice the little boy. They said they were researching it to make sure it never happened to them. I have 2 kids, work full time. I NEVER forgot my kids were in the car. And I didn’t have to use any stupid gimmick like taking off my shoe and putting it in the backseat to remind me they were there. They were important enough to me, and I loved them enough, that I remembered them!! My husband, who didn’t regularly take the kids to daycare, also NEVER forgot his children were in the car. We also NEVER left our kids in the car while we ran in to buy groceries or pay for gas. Yes, having children does make some parts of life a little more work, but, they are well worth it. If you don’t want to put in the effort, don’t have the kid!!

  • Val

    They are both guilty. If I remember correctly just days before this the parents where using Google to search for how long does it take for a child to die in a hot car or something along those lines.
    Not to mention the father went back out to car during Lunch hour. Don’t most people glance into the back of there seat while getting into a car? Or am I the only one.

  • Mike

    I seem to remember a case almost exactly like this about 12-13 years ago where the mom forgot to drop her child off at the babysitters, went to work and afterwards found her child still in the car seat, dead. She beat the murder charge cause the jury sympathized with her cause they too could have forgotten that there was a child in the back seat. I am a dad and I never ever forgot that my child was back there. I understand things pop up but really, how do you forget about your child? No matter if they are awake making noises or not. My parents didn’t forget about me or my sister. Maybe some just shouldn’t have kids if they can’t prioritize better.

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