DA: No Charges In Death Of Muskogee Baby Left In Car
MUSKOGEE, Oklahoma - The Muskogee County District Attorney declined to file charges after the death of a baby left in a car all day.
Justin House was 49 days old when he died on October 5, 2016.
In announcing his decision not to file charges, District Attorney Orvil Loge said he concluded the death of Justin House was an accident without unlawful intent.
Loge sent a letter to Muskogee Police Lieutenant John Pearson on Friday, December 2, 2016 in which he detailed what happened in the case and how he reached his decision.
According to Loge, Justin House was addicted to methamphetamine when he was born to Debra and Robert House on August 17, 2016. Loge said Debra House admitted to using meth during her pregnancy and drinking three to six beers per day. She also used valium, tramadal and lortab, according to Loge's letter.
Loge wrote that Justin House was placed in DHS custody which placed him with his maternal aunt, Shelly Hopkins.
Hopkins worked at Eastar Hospital and took Justin to daycare on the east side of Muskogee until he turned six weeks old, according to Loge. At that point she transferred him to the Eastar Hospital daycare, Loge said.
On October 5, Hopkins' mother took Hopkins' 5-year-old daughter to school, Loge's letter says, and Hopkins put Justin in his car seat in the middle of the back row facing the rear of the car.
Loge says instead of stopping to drop him off at daycare, Hopkins went to work, arriving between 8 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. She did not take a lunch that day and left work at 4:30 p.m., deciding to get a slushy for her daughter, according to the letter.
She arrived at the daycare and went to put the slushy in the back seat cup holder when she realized she had left Justin in the car seat all day, Loge wrote. He was already dead.
Loge said the medical examiner determined the cause of death as hyperthermia due to environmental exposure and that the manner was accident.