The death last month of an infant left in a hot car was not a crime, North Charleston police announced Friday.
Ten-month-old Jack Duggan's father had driven from their James Island home to his workplace on April 3, forgetting to drop off the boy along the way.
With Jack still inside the car, the temperature outside climbed to 85 degrees. The heat inside cars on such days can climb much higher.
It wasn't until that evening when the parents realized something was wrong, the North Charleston Police Department has said. The boy's mother went to the day care facility but he wasn't there.
The father discovered his son unresponsive in the car, the police said. He drove to a West Ashley hospital, where Jack was pronounced dead. Caused by hyperthermia, or heatstroke, his death was ruled accidental, Charleston County Chief Deputy Coroner Bobbi Jo O'Neal said Friday.
The investigation also involved North Charleston detectives and prosecutors, who concluded that any criminal charges in the case could not reasonably be prosecuted under state law, police spokesman Spencer Pryor added in a statement.
"The death of infant Jack Duggan ... is a tragedy for both the family and our community," Pryor said. "We have all determined that this incident, however tragic, was an accident."
Prosecutors often do not charge parents or guardians facing such grief, but there have been exceptions.
Heatstroke deaths of children are rare. A nonprofit group that tracks them nationwide tallied an average of 37 deaths of children annually from 1990 through 2017. Some policymakers have pushed legislation that would require new cars to feature technology designed to alert parents of sleeping children left in the backseat.