AP NEWS

Prosecutors won’t charge foster dad in baby’s hot-car death

January 7, 2020 GMT

PHOENIX (AP) — A Phoenix man will not face prosecution in the death of his foster daughter after he left the infant inside a car on a hot day, prosecutors said.

The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office declined to file charges against Roger Ham, the Arizona Republic reported Tuesday.

Prosecutors had been reviewing possible evidence brought by relatives of 4-month-old Samora Cousin in December, Jennifer Liewer, a spokeswoman for the attorney’s office, did not provide details about the evidence.

Samora died in October after firefighters found her strapped in a car seat in a van. The high temperature that day was around 91 degrees. Fire officials said the girl was beyond resuscitation and pronounced dead at the scene.

Ham told Phoenix police officers that he had picked up the baby for an appointment but forgot to drop her off. He then went to his job at a school district transportation facility.

Ham and his husband have been profiled in local media over the years for fostering and adopting more than a dozen children.

Darren DaRonco, a spokesman for the Arizona Department of Child Safety, did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

Jennifer Haley, the infant’s mother, told the Republic in October that Samora was removed because she was born with drugs in her system even though Haley had passed drug tests

About 62% of hot-car deaths in Arizona that occurred between 1994 and 2018 ended with no conviction, according to KidsAndCars.org.