Local News

Investigators Searching for Clues in Fort Bragg Death

Posted June 24, 1998

— This week's scorching heat is taking a deadly toll. A four-year old boy was found dead inside a hot car this week at Fort Bragg.

The boy's mother found his body inside the family Suburban, but by it was too late to save him.

The highest area temperatures are being recorded at Fort Bragg and elsewhere in Cumberland County, with the mercury rising to nearly 100 degrees there almost every day for the past two weeks. Even at night, temperatures have remained in the 90's and humidity doesn't let up.

Military officials say it was this heat that killed the child between 6 and 7 p.m. Tuesday night.

Young John Glen lived in a neighborhood on post. His mother says she was watching him and his two sisters when the boy suddenly disappeared

"Three children, playing at home with appropriate supervision -- mama's right there at home with the children," said LtC Rick Spearman of the 18th Airborne Corps. "For whatever reason, in a figurative blink of an eye, one of the children goes outside to play, wanders off, and in less than 15 or 20 minutes mom says 'where's your brother?' and goes to find her son. [She] gets neighbors to help."

John's mother opened the door of the vehicle and found him laying in the back seat. Military police tried to revive him, but nothing could be done.

"We see no evidence of any criminal negligence and truly we believe that there is absolutely no problem with parental supervision of any kind in this case," Spearman said.

Military officials say all the doors on the Suburban were unlocked.

Laura Sheffield is a nurse who helps answer Cumberland County medical calls. She said that the Fort Bragg tragedy should keep all parents on their toes.

"If you have a car out in the sun, within three to five minutes that car reaches 120 degrees in this 100 degree weather, and it wouldn't take any time at all to overcome a child," Sheffield said.

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