Police: Child Dies In Hot Car, Dad Smoking Pot

11:47 PM, Aug 30, 2013   |    comments
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The Republic | azcentral.com 

The family of a 3-month-old boy who died after being left in a hot car as his father allegedly smoked pot nearby gave a heartbreaking account of their pain on Friday.

The infant's mother, Rebecca Hillery, sobbed as she described her only child's loving and cheerful personality.

"He was always such a good boy," she said. "As soon as he learned to smile, that's all he did. He just loved to smile and play and bounce, and he was just so happy. He was so beautiful."

"He was my everything," she continued. "I loved being a mommy."

Jamison Gray died Wednesday of heat-related complications after being left in a vehicle for more than an hour, Phoenix police said. His father, Daniel Gray, had parked his car at his place of work, a bar near Scottsdale and Thunderbird roads.

Gray initially told police that he had gone to B.T. Sports Pub on his day off to check on some things, according to Phoenix police and Maricopa County Superior Court documents released Friday. But an investigation revealed that Gray was doing more than kitchen prep work.

A witness observed Gray and an employee standing in front of Gray's Oldsmobile Alero and assumed they were smoking marijuana, according to court documents. The employee admitted to police that Gray asked him for marijuana and they both went to stand in front of the vehicle, although the worker said he was not aware that the infant was in the car.

By the time Jamison was removed from the vehicle, he was unresponsive. The infant was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

"It's all been a nightmare," said Rob Straney, Hillery's uncle. "It's been a blur. It's very surreal. We're just trying to really show support for the mom right now. Our thoughts are with her, not so much the father at this time."

Gray was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter and child abuse Thursday evening and is being held in Fourth Avenue Jail on a $100,000 bond.

The family said very little about Gray or the allegations against him on Friday.

"Regardless of any feelings that we have towards him, I know that whatever he's going through mentally ... it's got to be very dark," Straney added.

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