Coroner: Death of girl found in mother's car accidental - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Coroner: Death of girl found in mother's car accidental

Posted: Updated: Aug 8, 2013 01:22 PM CDT
Caddo Parish Coroner Dr. Todd Thoma has found the cause of death for 3-year-old Sariah Delafosse was accidental, but that does not rule out the possibility of criminal charges. Caddo Parish Coroner Dr. Todd Thoma has found the cause of death for 3-year-old Sariah Delafosse was accidental, but that does not rule out the possibility of criminal charges.
Sariah's body was found in the back seat of her mother's parked car outside her Ingleside home on July 5, 2013. Sariah's body was found in the back seat of her mother's parked car outside her Ingleside home on July 5, 2013.
SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) -

The Caddo Parish Coroner's Office has completed its investigation into the death of Sariah Delafosse, finding the death of the 3-year-old girl found lifeless in her mother's car on July 5 accidental.

The following is a statement released by Dr. Todd Thoma: 

"On the afternoon of July 5, 2013, the Caddo Parish Coroner's Office was notified of a death that occurred at 3024 DeSoto St. in Shreveport Louisiana. Upon arrival to the scene we encountered the body of a three-year-old black female in the back seat of an automobile. The ensuing investigation was done in conjunction with the Shreveport Police Department,  both homicide detectives and crime scene investigators. After a complete scene evaluation, the body of Sariah Delafosse was sent to the pathology department at Louisiana State University Health for autopsy. With autopsy findings and scene evaluation the cause of death was determined to be heatstroke secondary to vehicular hyperthermia.

The Caddo Parish Coroner's Office will rule this case:
Cause of Death-Heatstroke Secondary to Vehicular Hyperthermia
Manner of Death-Accidental

The ruling of this death as accidental does not mean that charges will not be filed. The Caddo Parish Coroner's Office makes a ruling as to the manner of death based on the facts of the case. The decision whether or not charges will be filed comes under the jurisdiction of the Caddo Parish District Attorney's Office. To help understand the reasons for this ruling, I will cite an example. If two cars are involved in a high-speed collision and there are multiple deaths at the scene, all coroners and medical examiners rule these cases as accidental. If in the same crash, the driver of one of the vehicles is under the influence of alcohol, the coroner or medical examiner still rules the case accidental. In both cases there is a component of neglect. It is the job of the District Attorney's Office to determine whether this neglect rises to the level of criminal neglect. If an individual uses a car as a weapon and has an intent to kill, the coroner or medical examiner would rule that case a homicide.

The results of the investigation done by the Caddo Parish Coroner's Office, and the investigation of the Shreveport Police Department will be turned over to the District Attorney's Office to augment their independent investigation."

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