AMERICA FORK, Utah (ABC4) – Many are asking what’s next in the investigation into the death of 11-year-old Josh Hancey who was left in a hot car for two hours.
Defense Attorney Greg Skordas says it’ll send the wrong message if criminal charges are not filed.
“It’s so reckless, it’s such disturbing behavior in this day and age that a person would still think oh I can leave this kid in the car, I’ll be back,” Skordas says.
The former prosecutor continues, “We see billboards, we see signs, we see things all over that say don’t leave your child in the car, so to do so now given all that knowledge which we all have is really criminal behavior, its reckless behavior.”
While Skordas has strong feelings about the situation, he acknowledges there’s a lot more to what goes into filing criminal charges. “The medical examiner has to come back and say this child died as a result of being left in a car unattended on a hot day,” the defense attorney says.
There also has to be a determination of who was responsible. “They’ll look at the individual, who was ultimately responsible, who – who was it that left that kid in the car and walked away for some period of time with this immense heat that we’re having right now,” Skordas explains.
In this case, it’s the staff member who allegedly drove the boy to the facility and left him in the car.
“You could probably assume that – that the caretaker didn’t intend for the child to die,” Skordas says. “So then the prosecutors gotta weigh what their level of culpability is, and reckless homicide under Utah law is a manslaughter that carries 1-15 years in prison.”
In the two most recent hot car death cases in Utah, no criminal charges were filed.
“I think it would be difficult for a prosecutor given the facts of the case to simply walk away and not file anything.”
American Fork Police say there will not likely be an update to this case until next week as investigators continue to wait for autopsy results.