Detectives say “additional information was developed regarding the circumstances of the child’s death.”
On July 20 we posted about a child who died after being left in a hot car in the Forest Audelia area. Police have identified the victim as Sekinat Nariyah, age 2. U.S. Marshals Service Task Force officers Monday arrested the girl’s father, Hamuda Raufu, age 40, for “abandoning a child/imminent danger,” a second degree felony.
Initial reports revealed that on July 17 Sekinat, her parents, and multiple family members arrived home from a day at the park, everyone unloaded, and Sekinat was tragically, mistakenly, left sleeping, quietly strapped into her car seat while the rest of the family went inside and napped. Upon awakening, Raufu told police at the time, he went outside to work on his car, where he found his daughter and performed CPR before the girl’s mother rushed her to Medical City Hospital on Forest Lane where she was pronounced dead.
Detectives say there is more to the story.
“During the course of the investigation, additional information was developed regarding the circumstances of the child’s death, the actions of both parents, and other child witnesses,” police said via a news release.
Based on an affidavit, the family had indeed spent the day at Fair Park, at a Ramadan celebration.
When they arrived home, suspect Raufu unloaded the family — his pregnant wife and children among them. The victim remained strapped in a third-row backseat, presumably unbeknown to her father, while he retrieved his wallet from another vehicle, got back in the car, and made a trip to the ATM machine. He returned home and exited the vehicle, ordered some car parts online and then took a nap with the family. This still all looks like a terrible mistake, but it seems the suspect lied to the police that first day — he told them habout driving to the ATM machine, but said he did so in a different vehicle. Two days later he told them the truth — that his daughter was in the same car he drove to the ATM.
As far as we can tell from the affidavit, the father assumed the whole time that his daughter was in the house and that his mistakes were of negligence as opposed to any ill intention, but he reportedly was not entirely truthful with investigators. He is being held on $5,000 bond. The family so far has not responded to a request for comment.
Other details in the police report show that Sekinat Nariyah was left unattended a total of about an hour. Though a back window was cracked, the temperature outside was 98 degrees and the toddler suffered and died of hyperthermia.