Autopsy completed on child death but other elements of investigation unfinished | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Autopsy completed on child death but other elements of investigation unfinished

Posted By on Tue, Sep 1, 2015 at 11:42 AM

Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ellington of Jonesboro, appointed special prosecutor in the heat-related death July 24 of 18-month-old Thomas Naramore of Hot Springs, says the state medical examiner has completed the autopsy in the case and sent him the results.

Ellington said he hadn't seen the report and couldn't comment. It is not expected to differ in important ways from the preliminary finding that the death was heat-related. Police found the child's body in his father's car when responding to the father's 911 call on a hot afternoon. His father, Circuit Judge Wade Naramore, who handles juvenile cases, was apparently driving to seek help for his son. Police haven't released details on events leading up to the call, but the presumption has been that the child was left in a backseat carseat for some period of time on an afternoon when temperatures eventually rose over 100.

Ellington said the autopsy doesn't complete the investigation, but he wouldn't comment on other work yet to be done. He declined to answer my question about a review of Naramore's phone records. They could give a record of his activities before the call as well as text messages.

"We'll keep working and at some point we'll go forward," Ellington said.

Naramore has not been hearing cases since the death. Other judges have picked up his caseload.

PS — A belated notice of good reporting by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Shea Stewart in Sunday's newspaper on the deaths of children left in automobiles. Some cases are even more inexplicable than others — the mind's propensity to wander, particularly during changed routines, being hard to explain.

The cases are not always prosecuted. The last case in Arkansas resulted in a misdemeanor negligent homicide charge with a 60-day jail sentence and $2,500 fine for each parent who'd left a child in a car.

According to the article, more than 650 deaths have occurred since 1998, by one researcher's count.

Another researcher found 123 cases involving 128 children between 1998 and 2003. About 63 percent were prosecuted, with mothers prosecuted more often than fathers and blue-collar, lower income workers prosecuted more often than higher income white-collar people.

The Democrat-Gazette found 11 cases in Arkansas since 2005, seven of which were prosecuted, with five convictions — four misdemeanors and one felony manslaughter case.

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