A man from Moorhead, Minn., was charged with manslaughter Tuesday in the death of his 5-month-old girl, whom he accidentally left in a hot van for hours last week.
Clay County Attorney Brian Melton filed the second-degree manslaughter charges against Andrew Sandstrom, 24, for neglecting his youngest daughter in the van June 11. He was out of town Tuesday attending his daughter’s funeral, Moorhead Police Lt. Tory Jacobson said, but an arrest warrant has been filed.
Jacobson said police have been in constant contact with Sandstrom and expect he’ll turn himself in when he returns to Moorhead. “He’s not a flight risk,” he said.
Sandstrom told police he piled his six children — ages 7 and under — into the family minivan June 11, dropped his wife, Shayna, 27, off at work and returned to their Moorhead apartment.
Four hours later, he realized that their youngest, 5-month-old Christiana, was still in the van, sitting in her car seat in temperatures that had climbed into the low 80s that day. He returned to the vehicle, removed the girl from her car seat, and brought her into the apartment, where efforts to revive her failed.
The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead reported Tuesday that county social workers filed a petition to put the children in foster care, citing unsanitary conditions in the home. The petition also claimed the children were “without proper parental care because of the emotional, mental or physical disability” of the parents. In a hearing on the child protection petition Friday in Clay County District Court, Judge Michelle Lawson ordered that the children be placed in foster care, the Forum reported.
According to a nonprofit that tracks such cases, there have been at least 10 deaths in the country this year from children being left in hot vehicles. The group, KidsAndCars.org, said there were 32 “hot car” fatalities nationwide involving children last year and an uncharacteristically high 49 in 2010.