Seth Jackson walked into his Wichita, Kan., home with pizza in hand and his 5-year-old foster child in tow around 4 in the afternoon on July 24, according to police. He and his husband sat down with the pizza, smoked marijuana and watched a few episodes of the HBO series “Game of Thrones” when a crying baby on the screen jolted Jackson back to reality.
Their 10-month-old foster daughter was still in the Dodge Charger parked outside of the home.
Wichita police have charged Jackson, 29, with first-degree murder in the baby girl’s death.
Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett alleged that Jackson consumed marijuana the morning of the child’s death, according to KSN.com. He went out again later in the day to purchase more from a dealer, to take another 5-year-old child in his care to a doctor’s appointment and to pick up the 10-month-old foster child from the babysitter’s, according to a police affidavit.
Jackson’s husband told police that the baby, who has not been named, was in the car for about two hours with the windows rolled up on a sweltering, 90-degree day.
When Jackson realized what happened, his husband ran outside to the car and pulled the baby out of the vehicle, her body hot to the touch and stiff. The men tried CPR, police said, but could not get the baby’s mouth open.
By the time authorities arrived, the child was lying lifeless on her back on the couch, and Jackson was on the phone, police said.
“I left her in the car, she’s dead. She’s dead,” police heard him say in four different phone calls.
Jackson and his husband had hoped to adopt the child, who was born with drugs in her system and nursed in a local hospital’s intensive care unit, the baby’s maternal grandmother, Cindy Poe, told the Wichita Eagle. Two of the baby’s siblings lived in the same home.
Six children, including the 10-month-old girl, lived with Jackson and his husband. The couple had adopted two of the children and were fostering the others, according to the Eagle.
A judge ordered Jackson not to have any contact with the children, his husband, or his mother, and his bond was set at $250,000.
Forgetting a Child in the Backseat of a Car Is a Horrifying Mistake. Is It a Crime? — Gene Weingarten’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Post Magazine feature from 2009.