Affidavit reveals new details in death of Smith Co. child found - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports


Affidavit reveals new details in death of Smith Co. child found in hot car

Bella Rose and her sister. (Source: Facebook) Bella Rose and her sister. (Source: Facebook)
Russel Lindstrom (Source: Smith County Sheriff's Office) Russel Lindstrom (Source: Smith County Sheriff's Office)

The arrest warrant for a Smith County father charged with manslaughter after his four-year-old daughter died in a hot car is revealing more details about the events leading up to her death.

Russel Lindstrom, 33, of Flint, was arrested by Smith County sheriff's deputies on Wednesday and charged with one count of manslaughter and one count of injury to a child.

According to the arrest affidavit, on June 11, Lindstrom's daughters, Zoey, 3, and Bella Rose, 4, locked themselves in a pickup truck in front of Lindstrom's home.

Lindstrom told deputies he had put his daughters down for a nap while their mother was at work. He began doing laundry and playing games on his cell phone. An hour went by before his brother-in-law walked onto the front porch where Russel was playing on his cell phone and asked where the girls were, since it was "unusual for them to be quiet for any length of time." The men checked the bedroom and couldn't find the girls anywhere. A search of the yards and woods near the property turned up nothing. Russel ultimately found Bella and Zoey in their Nissan pickup.

Authorities say Lindstrom told them Bella was slumped over in the back seat, not breathing. She had also vomited in the truck. Lindstrom called 911 and Bella was transported to a Tyler hospital where she was pronounced dead. When she arrived at the hospital, her body temperature was 107.9 degrees. An emergency room doctor listed her cause of death as respiratory failure and hyperthermia.

Zoey was treated on scene by EMS, but was later taken to a Tyler hospital to be treated for dehydration and heat exhaustion.

Lindstrom told authorities that his daughters had been found playing in the truck in the past and had locked themselves in before. However, their parents were able to immediately remove them.

When Smith County deputies processed the truck, they found small hand prints on the inside of the windows of the driver and passenger doors, as well as clearly visible streaks on the roof of the truck to the hood of the truck, which appeared to have been created by children.
Lindstrom's wife told deputies that she and her husband knew Bella was able to open the truck door and that her daughters played on the truck as a type of jungle gym.

Neighbors told detectives that they had seen Lindstrom daughters playing near the road in front of their house. On one occasion, a neighbor said one of the children was in the middle of the road. The neighbor stopped and walked the child back into the yard.

Officers seized two tablets and three laptops from the home, according to the report, as well as drug paraphernalia found in a chest in the master bedroom.

Lindstrom is being held in the Smith County Jail on a $150,000 bond for manslaughter and a $50,000 bond for injury of a child.

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