Daniel Gray Didn't Notice Baby Dying in Car as He Stood Next to It, Smoking Weed, Cops Say
Phoenix police say a man didn't realize for several hours that he left his 3-month-old son in a hot car, even though he was smoking weed right next to the car at one point.
Daniel Gray's 3-month-old son, James, died in the car, which was parked behind a sports bar where Gray works.
According to court documents obtained by New Times, Gray -- who is a manager at BT's Sports Pub, on the Scottsdale/Phoenix border -- had a day off on Wednesday, but stopped by just to check on things.
Gray told police that he planned to take the baby inside the pub as he did a couple tasks, but when he showed up, at some time before 10 a.m., the kitchen staff was waiting outside, as the other managers hadn't shown up yet. Gray went home, got his keys, and returned just before 10 a.m. -- the same time the other managers showed up with the keys anyway.
Gray told officers that he went inside -- without the baby -- and came back to his car at 11:55 a.m., and found the baby inside the car. He tried to bring the baby inside the kitchen's cooler, and fan him off, as 911 was called, but it was too late.
The baby was grey in color, and had a core temperature of 107 degrees, which was recorded at the hospital, according to court documents.
Police note that Gray said he used marijuana and alcohol, but not on Wednesday.
Employees interviewed by investigators said otherwise.
One employee said he saw Gray smoking weed in the cooler the day before with a new employee. On Wednesday, that employee said he saw Gray ask the new employee if he was "ready," as they headed out to Gray's car, around 10:45 a.m., court documents state.
Around 11 a.m., that employee took a look out back, and saw Gray and the new employee standing at the front of Gray's car.
"He assumed by their actions they were smoking marijuana," court documents state. Police believe that, too.
After that interview, police interviewed the employee, who admitted they went out to Gray's car after Gray asked him for some weed, according to court documents. The new employee said he never noticed the baby in the car, and didn't even know that Gray had any children.
Police arrested Gray yesterday evening, and interviewed him again.
"Daniel did not want to tell Detectives about what happened between him and the new employee behind the restaurant on [Wednesday] because he was concerned with the perception of him and the new employee standing next to the car, where his 3 month old baby was ultimately found," a police probable-cause statement says.
Gray was booked into jail on charges of reckless manslaughter and reckless child abuse. His bond was set at $100,000.
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