UPDATE: Foster father released on bond

By: KAKE News - Email
By: KAKE News - Email
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WICHITA, Kan. — The man accused of leaving a baby in a hot car, resulting in her death, is now out of jail.

Foster father 29-year-old Seth Jackson was released on bond around 5 p.m. on Saturday.

During a bond reduction hearing Friday, prosecutors accused Jackson of being high on marijuana when he left the 10-month-old in the car.

Despite those allegations the judge granted Jackson's request to modify his bond amount.

Jackson's preliminary hearing is scheduled for August 13th.

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The Sedgwick County District Attorney is alleging that a foster father was high while a baby was left in a hot car last week. She later died.

Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett read the allegations during a bond reduction hearing for Seth Jackson on Friday afternoon.

Bennett said that Jackson had run out of marijuana on the morning of July 24. That afternoon, he reportedly took two children to meet with his drug dealer where he bought more.

When he got home, Bennett said he left the 10-month-old girl in the car, went inside and smoked marijuana. He didn't realize the child was still in the car until more than two hours later, but she was already dead.

Since he believes Jackson was high on the day she died, he supports the higher bond amount. Even with the first degree murder charge, Bennett does not feel Jackson is a flight risk.

Seth Jackson
Jackson's attorney, Les Hulnick, told KAKE News this is the first he's heard of the marijuana allegations. He also called the first degree murder charge "ludicrous." He expected Jackson to bond out of jail before 5 p.m. Friday, but he was not released from jail until shortly before 5 p.m. on Saturday, according to jail records.

Jackson's adopted children are now in state custody. Other children he and his partner were fostering have also been removed from the home.

Department for Children and Families Secretary Phyllis Gilmore released another statement following Friday's developments:

“Should the allegations prove to be true, I am appalled that a precious, helpless child suffered such an unthinkable death while her foster parent was allegedly using drugs. We expect parents to protect and care for their children. We expect even more of our foster parents. They have a duty to put the children in their care before themselves always and provide a loving, safe environment. This incident is a rare exception to the otherwise strong record of foster care safety in Kansas. Drug use is not tolerated among our foster parents.”

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A Wichita man has been charged with murder in connection to the death of a baby who was left in a hot car.

The 10-month-old girl died after being left in a car for about 2 hours last Thursday night in south Wichita.

In court Wednesday afternoon, 29-year-old Seth M. Jackson was charged with first degree murder, or in the alternative, second degree murder. His bond has been set at $250,000.

Jackson is not to have contact with any children who were under his care or anyone on the witness list, including his partner and mother.

Secretary Phyllis Gilmore of the Kansas Department for Children and Families released the following statement after charges were filed:

"We remain deeply saddened that this child suffered such a horrific death. We support the charges filed in this case, and we will aid in any way possible the prosecution of the defendant."

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Police have made an arrest in connection to the death of a 10-month-old girl who was reportedly left in a hot car.

Around 6:40 p.m. on July 24, emergency crews were dispatched to the 1500 block of south Topeka for an overheated child. EMS crews arrived and pronounced the girl dead minutes later.

Police say the child was in a car sitting in the street outside the home. The young girl had been in her car seat in the back seat of the car with the windows rolled up for two to two and a half hours.

The girl was the foster child of two men who lived at the home. One of the men had picked up the child from a babysitter at 4 p.m., then went home. The second man was in the backyard at the time. Police say a 5-year-old was also in the car, and that somehow the baby was forgotten. Police say the men thought the girl was downstairs, and didn't realize she was still in the car until something on TV jogged their memories shortly after 6:30 p.m.

It was approximately 90 degrees outside when crews arrived, but police were unsure how hot it was inside the car.

Shortly before 1 a.m. Friday, officers arrested 29-year-old Seth M. Jackson. He was booked for aggravated endangering a child. Police expect to present the case to the district attorney's office next week.

Jackson and the other man, 26, have two adopted children and four foster children, including the baby girl they were trying to adopt. The others range in age from from 3 to 18 years old. Police have since taken a five and seven-year-old into protective custody. The other children are still with family members.

The Department for Children and Families (DCF) current foster care contractors have been instructed to inspect all foster homes associated with TFI, a former contractor. It's contract wasn't renewed in July 2013. All future placements with TFI have been suspended pending the outcome of the DCF investigation.

This is the first heat-related death in Wichita in 2014.

The U.S Department of Transportation on Thursday launched a new public service campaign educating parents of the dangers of leaving kids in hot cars.

So far this year, including this incident in Wichita, 18 children have died after being left in hot cars across the nation. The "Where's Baby? Look Before You Lock" Campaign reminds Americans that it's never OK to leave a child alone in a car.

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