WINCHESTER HILLS, Utah, June 26, 2017 (Gephardt Daily) — An investigation is underway after a 2-year-old child died in a hot van in Winchester Hills early Saturday evening.
Deputies responded with emergency personnel to a residence in Winchester Hills, which is north of St. George, after receiving a 911 call about an unresponsive child at approximately 6:35 p.m., according to a news release from Washington County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Lt. David Crouse.
First responders arrived, and determined the child was deceased, the news release said.
“Washington County Sheriff’s Detectives responded to the home to investigate the circumstances which led up to the child’s death,” the news release continues.
“Although the investigation is still in the early stages, we were able to learn several families from out of state were attending a family reunion in the area.”
Numerous families were temporarily staying at the home while participating in the reunion events which included in total more than five families and between 25 and 35 children.
“The families had traveled to St. George for an activity with the children using multiple vehicles,” the news release goes on. “They returned to Winchester Hills and prepared for a religious meeting in St. George, consisting of only adults. The 2-year-old child was a passenger of a coach-style van along with several other children. It was suspected the child had fallen asleep during the return trip and did not exit the vehicle with the other children and adults. This was unknown to the adults as they prepared for their meeting.”
As the adult family members returned home they noticed the child was not present and began searching the residence and surrounding areas. The child was then discovered by the father in the van.
The investigation is ongoing and will be screened by the Washington County Attorney’s Office for potential criminal liability as part of standard protocol, however the initial investigation appears the incident was “a tragic accident.”
The gender and identity of the child has not been released.