Local News

Fayetteville firefighter charged after son left alone in hot car 'for hours'

Posted September 15, 2021 10:56 a.m. EDT
Updated September 15, 2021 6:25 p.m. EDT

— A Fayetteville father was charged Tuesday with involuntary manslaughter of his 17-month-old son, who was left inside a hot car earlier this month.

Fayetteville Police Sgt. Jeremy Glass said that the child was accidentally left in a van for several hours.

Wayne Nesbitt, 36, was being held at the Cumberland County Detention Center under a $100,000 unsecured bond. He's currently employed with Fayetteville as a firefighter, city officials said.

"They returned home from church, and after ... the child was just never taken out of the car," Glass said.

Oskarr Nesbitt and his mother

According to the Fayetteville Police Department, officers responded to Nesbitt's Fayetteville home on Sept. 5, where they found the toddler unresponsive inside a car.

Despite emergency measures, the child was pronounced dead. The child died of heat-related injuries, according to a medical examiner.

Glass said there was a misunderstanding about who took the child out of the car.

"Ultimately, the father's responsible for the safety of that child and he was charged appropriately," he said.

Temperatures inside a car can rise quickly when its hot outside, according to WRAL's meteorologist team.

WRAL's weather department says that the highest temperature in Fayetteville was 89 degrees that day. When outside temperatures are in the 90s, cars can heat up quickly. If a child is left in a car for an hour, inside temperatures can reach more than 130 degrees.

According to an obituary, Oskar Nesbitt had 11 brothers and sisters and "loved dancing, eating Oreos for breakfast, eating Goldfish [crackers], cuddling and playing in the water."

On average, every 10 days a child dies from heatstroke in a vehicle, according to the nonprofit organization Safe Kids Worldwide. In more than half of these deaths, the caregiver forgot the child was in the car.

"The parent placed the child in a situation where they were deemed neglected," Glass said.

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