Family Identifies Child Found Dead Inside Car In American Fork Parking Lot Identified
Jul 21, 2021, 4:20 PM | Updated: Jul 22, 2021, 6:31 pm
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AMERICAN FORK, Utah — A family GoFundMe* account identified the 12-year-old child who was found dead inside a car in American Fork on Wednesday as Joshua Hancey.
Lt. Josh Christensen with the American Fork Police Department confirmed the child was found unconscious and not breathing in a car next to Roost Services, a business that provides services to intellectually disabled individuals.
Police said Wednesday that the boy was 9-years-0ld but the family clarified that he was actually 12-years-old. A post on GoFundMe* identified the boy as Joshua Hancey. The family turned to the website to help raise money to cover funeral expenses.
By 6:00 p.m. Thursday people had already donated $18,373 which more than doubled the family’s goal of $7,500. One family gave $5,000 and said, “Sadness in our hearts for this young man and his family. May God’s love accompany you through this extremely difficult time. -the Bonhams”
Joshua’s uncle, Justin Hancey wrote on the website that the family was horrified to learn of how he died. “There are no words to describe the devastation my family is feeling right now. Josh was a loving child who needed extra care and was gravely mistreated. What Josh endured in his final hours is unspeakable, and nothing I would ever wish on someone else.”
KSL reached out to Roost Services for comment and had not received a response as of Thursday evening.
Former prosecutor and current defense attorney, Greg Skordas said in a case like this someone will be held accountable and because of the seriousness of the mistake, the charges could be very serious.
Staff at a medical services office were supposed to be helping 12 year-old Josh Hancey. Instead, police say they left him in a hot car to die. I've got a look at what's expected in the coming days from the ongoing investigation in American Fork. @KSL5TV at 5&6. pic.twitter.com/stSI9Pl8ZE
— Mike Anderson (@mikeandersonKSL) July 22, 2021
“Given all of the information we have and given the incredibly hot weather we have and given the real helplessness of the child himself, it very well could result in some homicide charges,” Skordas said.
He added, “So the individual or individuals who are responsible for this will be looked at in terms of whether they were negligent, grossly negligent, which would be a negligent homicide charge or maybe reckless.”
Detectives said the child was being transported to Roost Services and somehow was left behind in the car for two hours, with temperatures in the area nearing triple digits.
“The boy was brought here to this location by a staff member of this business, along with a couple other individuals and something happened — something led to this boy being left in the vehicle,” Christensen said. “I mean, we’re talking 97, 98 degrees, and so you can imagine the inside of that car after two hours was 20, 30, 40 degrees higher than that.”
Despite first responders’ efforts to revive the child, he ultimately was pronounced dead.
Investigators are now working to determine why the boy was left in the car and why he never exited the vehicle.
“Was there some kind of restraint that was holding him?” Christensen said. “Did it have anything to do with child locks? Did it have anything to do with his disability?”
Police said charges could be filed, but they’re giving it a very close look and obviously, that takes time.
KSL reached out to Roost Services for comment and had not received a response as of Thursday morning.
In the meanwhile, police urged Utahns to be careful in the heat of the summer.
“That’s all we continue to ask, you know, is that everybody be very vigilant,” Christensen said. “This can happen to anybody. It can happen to me; it can happen to you. But it’s something I hope nobody has to go through ever again.”
*KSL-TV does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisors and otherwise proceed at your own risk.