Baby boy left in hot vehicle all day at Pax River NAS found dead; John MacDonald Junek charged in his baby’s death

John Junek of Leonardtown charged with baby's death

John Junek of Leonardtown charged with baby’s death

 

UPDATE:

Greenbelt, Maryland – A criminal complaint was filed yesterday charging John MacDonald Junek, 40, of Leonardtown, Maryland, with involuntary manslaughter in connection with the death of his infant son. An initial appearance is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles B. Day, in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, Maryland.

The criminal complaint was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein and Special Agent in Charge Darrell Gilliard of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, Washington Field Office.

The criminal complaint alleges that at 3:25 p.m. on September 3, 2014, Junek’s infant son was found unresponsive, locked inside Junek’s vehicle which was parked at the Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, where Junek worked. According to the criminal complaint, Junek dropped his four year old son at preschool that morning and was then supposed to drop his infant son at the Child Development Center on NAS Patuxent River. Junek explained that he entered the base and drove directly to his office, leaving his son in his rear-facing car seat in his locked vehicle at approximately 8:50 a.m.

According to the criminal complaint, Junek’s wife called him at 3:20 p.m. to see if he had their son’s car seat with him. Junek could not recall whether he had the car seat and realized that he may not have dropped the baby off at the CDC. Junek went to his vehicle and discovered the infant in his car seat unconscious. Junek called emergency responders and attempted to perform CPR on the child until police and EMS arrived and took over.

According to the criminal complaint, Junek had driven his vehicle to a meeting at approximately 1:00 p.m. He remained at the meeting until 2:00 p.m. and drove back to his office. Junek advised law enforcement that he had been in a hurry to get to the meeting and had not noticed his son was still strapped to his car seat in rear of the vehicle. The temperature reached 85 degrees on September 3, 2014.

Junek faces a maximum sentence of eight years in prison for involuntary manslaughter. He is currently detained.

A criminal complaint is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by criminal complaint is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the NCIS for its work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorneys Kristi O’Malley and Michael Packard, who are prosecuting the case.

Junek is a private pilot and owns a Piper PA-18A 150 airplane that is kept at St. Mary’s County Airport. Junek graduated from St. Mary’s Ryken High School in 1992 and studied mechanical and aerospace engineering at Old Dominion University, graduating in 1998. He has been an engineer with the Navy since 1997.

238664217-Hot-Car-Death-court-documents

 

The baby was left to die in a vehicle parked in the South Engineering Building parking lot on Sept. 3, 2014. The facility houses hundreds of people with row upon row of vehicles and people coming and going all day.

The baby was left to die in a vehicle parked in the South Engineering Building parking lot on Sept. 3, 2014. The facility houses hundreds of people with row upon row of vehicles and people coming and going all day.

NAVAL AIR STATION PATUXENT RIVER, Md. (Sept. 4, 2014) – At around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, a male infant was discovered unresponsive in the back of a vehicle parked in the South Engineering Building parking lot and had been left in the vehicle all day while temperatures exceeded ninety degrees.

The inside temperatures would have literally baked the child alive. The Navy Public Affairs personnel reported that 911 was called upon discovery of the child in the vehicle and NAS Pax River fire and emergency services responded and immediately took over CPR.

The infant was pronounced deceased at 4:15 p.m. by EMS personnel. Fleet and Family Support Center counselors and the installation chaplain are on scene.

According to the Navy public affairs unit, the incident is under investigation by NCIS.

The baby was clearly placed in the vehicle by an adult who parked the vehicle.

The investigation will attempt to determine if the toddler was intentionally left in the vehicle to die, in which case murder charges would be brought in federal court.

Should the abandonment of the child in the vehicle be determined to be accidental, manslaughter charges could be placed against the parent or other individual who parked the vehicle with the child inside.

How long can a child stay alive in a closed vehicle?

1. No Exceptions, No Matter How Brief

Some parents may not want to take their child in and out of their cumbersome car seat for what they believe will be a quick stop. But the stakes are too high.

“It is never OK to leave kids or pets in a car — even with the windows down,”  says Christopher McStay, MD, an emergency room doctor and assistant professor of emergency medicine at New York University Langone Medical Center. “It is an absolute no-no.”

McStay has seen his share of hot car casualties in the emergency room. “Your car is a greenhouse and temperatures can get exceedingly hot in an exceedingly short period of time,” he says.

“There is no safe amount of time to leave children alone in the car,” says Nathan Allen, MD, an emergency medicine doctor at the University of Chicago. “Kids are more susceptible and at higher risk for heat-related illness and injury than adults because their bodies make more heat relative to their size and their abilities to cool through sweating are not as developed as adults.” 

As a result, just a few minutes can be extremely dangerous — even fatal — for a small child.

2. Know What Can Go Wrong

“Parents leave children in a car for lack of understanding about how sick they can get and how quickly they can get sick,” says Christopher Haines, DO, director of pediatric emergency medicine at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia.

“On a day that is just 72 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature [inside a car] can increase by 30 to 40 degrees in an hour, and 70% of this increase occurs the first 30 minutes,” he says.

Heat stroke may occur when body temperature passes 104 degrees Fahrenheit. That overwhelms the brain’s temperature control, causing symptoms such as dizziness, disorientation, agitation, confusion, sluggishness, seizure, loss of consciousness, and/or death.

3. Bystander? Get Involved

If you see a child alone in a hot vehicle, call 911 immediately, advises the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). “If they are in distress due to heat, get them out as quickly as possible,” states the NHTSA’s web site.

Unfortunately, some child carriers have hoods, so you can’t tell if there is a child in the seat. Developing alarm systems that sound if a child’s seat belt is left fastened when the door shuts may be helpful in the future, McStay says. — from Web MD

 

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