While police are not releasing details about what they believe happened, it appears the little boy’s father may have forgotten the boy was in the back of the car and accidentally left him there for most of the day.
According to those who witnessed the incident, the father came to a local daycare to pick up his child at the end of the day, but was told the boy had never been dropped off. That’s when he realized he had forgotten his son in the car.
Workers at the daycare rushed to the car and tried to revive the child but it was too late.
Witnesses in the area at the time reported on social media that they saw a man on the ground outside the daycare Thursday evening who appeared extremely distressed.
The witnesses reported they had heard that the father had dropped off his two older children at a day camp and then left, forgetting he also had the baby boy in the car.
Staff at the daycare would not confirm the reports. Police are not commenting either, saying they are awaiting the results of an autopsy on the child.
Nearby parents and neighbours offered sympathy to the family Thursday evening.
“It’s sad,” Lyne Lafleur, who lived near the daycare in French.
“People might say, ‘How can you forget your child in car?’. But we don’t know what was going on in his life,” she said.
If the father did in fact forget the baby in the car, it would not be the first time such an incident has occurred.
In 2003, a Quebec man left his two-year-old daughter in a heated car outside a subway station all day after forgetting she was in the back seat. He was charged with manslaughter but the Crown later dropped all charges.
In 2013, a nearly-two-year-old boy died in a car in Milton, Ont. He had been left in the care of his grandmother, who said she thought she had dropped him off at daycare but had instead driven home and taken a nap, leaving the boy in the car.
She was charged with failing to provide the necessities of life and convicted. She received a suspended sentence and two years’ probation.
Provincial police have now taken over the Saint-Jerome investigation and will decide after they receive the autopsy results whether any charges should be laid.