Relative Says Man Might Have Forgotten Baby Was In Car

MEDINA, Ohio (AP) - Relatives of a man who left a baby locked in a car on a hot summer day said he may have been confused and forgot the child was in the car.

"He's a wonderful guy," said Gail Ramsey, the man's sister-in-law. "He wishes it would have been him" who died.

Nine-month-old Tyler Costello was in a forward-facing car seat on the passenger side in the back seat of a Dodge Neon. By the time the baby was taken out of the car, he was not responsive and died at a hospital.

No one has been charged with a crime. The matter remained under investigation Tuesday.

Ramsey said the baby's father usually does not take the baby to a babysitter, but he knew the infant was in his car when he left home to make the short drive to work Monday. She said he apparently ended up forgetting about his son being in the car.

In a frantic-sounding 911 call to police, the father said: "I have a small infant. He was locked in a car. I forgot about him for, uh, two hours. His lips are purple."

Police estimate Tyler was in the car closer to three hours.

Tyler died from overheating, according to preliminary findings from an autopsy done Tuesday at the Cuyahoga County coroner's office, which is assisting in the investigation.

Medina County Coroner Neil Grabenstetter said he won't rule on the cause of death until all tests are completed. That will take two to four weeks, he said.

Medina police Chief Dennis Hanwell and Medina County Prosecutor Dean Holman said they are awaiting final autopsy results before determining whether criminal charges will be pursued.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)