4-year-old died in hot car as father worked at food festival for nearly 6 hours, authorities say

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Kristopher Alexander Taylor  (Ramsey County Jail) Kristopher Alexander Taylor (Ramsey County Jail)

A 26-year-old Minnesota father has been arrested after he allegedly left his 4-year-old son in a hot car for hours as he worked an event in downtown St. Paul.

The boy, who was not identified, died after his father, Kristopher Alexander Taylor, left him in the car for hours as he worked at the Minnesota Monthly 8th Annual Grillfest at CHS Field in downtown St. Paul on Saturday, according to charging documents filed in Ramsey County. The child was left in Taylor's care by his mother, according to the complaint.

Taylor told authorities that he and his son attended the food festival around 11:30 a.m., and by 2:45 p.m., the child said he was tired and wanted to sit in the car, according to the probable cause statement. Taylor then allegedly cracked the window of the 2017 Dodge Journey and left his son with a game to entertain himself, the document states.

When Taylor returned around 5:15 p.m., he noticed that his son was unresponsive and "stiff," causing him to yell the boy's name and shake him, authorities said.

Taylor carried his son as he ran into the Regions Hospital around 5:35 p.m.and "frantically" asked for help, according to the probable cause statement. At the time, the boy was not breathing or moving and was taken by medical staff, who began life-saving efforts, the court document states.

Hospital staff thought the child was having a seizure, since his whole body was stiff, and he was pronounced dead after anti-seizure medicine had no effect, according to the complaint.

When an off-duty officer approached Taylor and asked him what happened, Taylor asked to "quickly" go to his car, and the officer accompanied him, according to the complaint. As Taylor grabbed some items from the vehicle, the officer "noticed the inside of the Journey was very hot," the document states.

The boy's mother told police at the hospital that Taylor picked up their son around 2:30 a.m. Friday so she could go to work the early morning shift at her job, according to the complaint. The child was "fine" when Taylor picked him up, the mother told authorities.

After Taylor was arrested, he told police that once he arrived at the festival, he placed his son in the grass in the outfield of the baseball field where he could see him, according to the probable cause statement. When it "slowed down," Taylor said he went to check on the boy, who told him he was tired and wanted to take a nap, the document states.

Taylor said he then brought his son to the vehicle and left the window cracked up to half an inch, he told police. When he returned, his son did not respond when he called his name, and Taylor found no pulse when he tried to put him in the car seat. Taylor then drove to the hospital, according to the complaint.

Two of Taylor's coworkers told police that "Taylor never left during his shift."

Taylor allegedly later admitted to police that he "left his son in the Journey for the entirety of his work shift" because he "couldn't find anyone to watch his son," according to the criminal complaint. Taylor also allegedly stated that the last time he checked on the boy was at 11:30 a.m., police said.

Taylor told police that he "didn't think it was that hot," adding that he had done something similar in the past about a year ago and "nothing bad happened." However, on that occasion, Taylor said he left the window all the way down, according to the probable cause statement.

The temperature Saturday ranged from 70 degrees around noon to about 64 degrees around 5 p.m., the Star Tribune reported.

An autopsy showed that the boy had no signs of trauma but that his body had already shown signs of decomposition, according to the criminal complaint. The Ramsey County Medical Examiner's Office determined the cause of death to be probable hyperthermia, but additional testing to confirm the cause of death is pending.

Taylor has been charged with second-degree manslaughter and is currently being held at the Ramsey County jail. He appeared in court Monday afternoon, but it is unclear if he entered a plea or has retained an attorney.

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