|Updated: 11/26/2012 1:35 pm
||Published: 11/20/2012 11:39 am
The cause of death is still pending for an 16-month old toddler's cause of death.
Tahlequah police say Cody Butler's 16 month-old daughter was inside a car with the heat running last night for several minutes before Butler noticed something was terribly wrong. When police were called, the lifeless child had an extremely high temperature.
Police in Tahlequah say it's one of the most devastating cases they can remember.
“This is very rare; we don't have this happen very often in Tahlequah. We have not had a fatality until now, and my heart goes to the parents and the family,” Tahlequah Police Chief Clay Mahaney told FOX23.
Parents in grandparents in this Cherokee County town are also shaken by a death so many think was preventable
“I never let my children out of my sight at that age. If they were in that car seat, I was with that car seat,” Lavada Moyer said.
Police say Butler left his daughter in the car with the heater running while he talked with someone near Norris Park in downtown Tahlequah.
After several minutes, he noticed the child had purple cheeks and started performing CPR.
“If it was my kid, I wouldn't leave a baby in the car. That's just the wrong thing to do,” Samuel Crow said.
The child was pronounced dead shortly after 9:00 Monday night at Tahlequah City Hospital. Butler has since been arrested on a second degree manslaughter complaint.
Parents like Crow say this is a huge wake up call for everyone; no matter the season never leave a child unattended in a car.
“It will make them more alert, keep them on their toes, make them think, ‘Wow that could have been my kid.’”
The wake up call didn't come soon enough for one family mourning the loss of a little girl whose life had just started.
“If it was somebody I loved, it would tear me up so bad, just thinking about that 18 month old baby hurts,” Moyer said.
Butler also faces charges of child neglect and endangerment. Prosecutors will determine what formal charges to file, as soon as police and the medical examiner finish the investigation into this death.