- Associated Press - Saturday, July 2, 2016

CAROLINA BEACH, N.C. (AP) - A mother won’t be charged in the death of her 9-month-old son in a hot car because it was a perfect storm of change of routine, sleep deprivation and forgetfulness, a prosecutor said.

Jefferson Wilkins’ body was found in his rear-facing car seat in his mother’s SUV after she went to his Wilmington daycare on May 25 and was stunned to find out he wasn’t there.

“An innocent baby is dead and all of us grieve. Filing criminal charges will not make us safer, balm our hurt or bring him back. We should not elevate a tragedy to a crime merely to say that grave accidents cannot happen and must be the result of something more sinister. Sometimes accidents do happen and they break our hearts,” Hanover County District Attorney Ben David told The StarNews (http://bit.ly/29aJM0M).

David said investigators tested Nancy Byrd-Wilkins’ blood and found no evidence of alcohol or drug use. They reviewed her cellphone records, interviewed her co-workers and looked at surveillance video to help the prosecutor make his decision.

The mother woke up with her son at 3:30 a.m. the day he died, and drove him to a regular checkup at the doctor later that morning. That break in her routine led her to forget her son was in the SUV, and she drove on to her job at consignment store, David said.

The baby was in the SUV nearly eight hours. The mother drove to the daycare that afternoon to pick him up and was startled and believed he had been kidnapped when the daycare employees said he was never taken there that day, the prosecutor said.

She went to her SUV and called 911 after finding her son in his seat behind the driver’s seat. Her shrieks can be heard on the phone. A daycare worker also called 911 before attempted CPR, and she too wails as she figures out the child was beyond help.

It was a chaotic, gut-wrenching scene, one that moved even “hardened career professionals to tears,” David said.

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Information from: The StarNews, http://starnewsonline.com

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