Virginia minister charged with manslaughter in toddler's death in car

Friday, August 20th 2004, 8:31 pm
By: News On 6

HANOVER, Va. (AP) _ A minister whose 3-year-old daughter died of heatstroke was indicted Friday on a charge of involuntary manslaughter. The child was mistakenly left alone in the family vehicle for nearly eight hours on a day temperatures went up to the mid-80s.

Douglas William Grote, 32, surrendered Friday and was released on a $2,500 bond. His arraignment was set for Tuesday. If convicted, he would face up to 10 years in prison.

Grote, recreation minister for Cool Spring Baptist Church, mistakenly left his daughter, Kristen, inside the family's sport utility vehicle in the church parking lot after he arrived for work Aug. 3, authorities said.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch quoted sources saying the toddler was in the vehicle from about 8:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., when her father discovered her. She was pronounced dead at the hospital.

``We remain convinced that Kristen's death was accidental, not criminal,'' the Rev. Tony Ramirez, an associate pastor, said in a prepared statement.