LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The father of a child who was found dead in a car in Las Vegas Monday afternoon did not appear in court on Tuesday due to a medical refusal.
Sydney Deal, 27, was scheduled to appear at 1:30 p.m. for arraignment.
Earlier on Tuesday, the coroner identified the child as 1-year-old Sayah Deal, with a cause of death pending.
Family members of Sydney and Sayah held a press conference outside of the Las Vegas courthouse shortly after his scheduled arraignment.
Artavia Wilson, Sydney Deal's mother, rejected comments in court that her son was negligent, saying he "thought his daughter was in air [conditioning]."
"The car was running," Wilson told reporters, holding back tears, "and she was in the car."
In the background, another family member can be heard saying, "If there was something wrong then the cop would have broke the window."
13 Action News asked the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department about its policy for when children are locked in cars, and the department says it does not have a specific policy that addresses that.
The child's family held a press conference outside the courthouse Tuesday afternoon. Watch below:
On the day of the incident, police say Sydney Deal waved down an officer to ask for help on H Street between Owens Avenue and Lake Mead Boulevard.
He told the officer his child was trapped in a locked vehicle. Police said previously that the car was running and the keys were inside.
During the courthouse press conference, Wilson said her son left the car to get his phone from his girlfriend. When he went back to the vehicle, she said he realized the doors were locked.
That's when he flagged down an officer driving nearby, said Wilson.
She also says Deal called her when he realized he was locked out, and she estimates the incident lasted 20 or 30 minutes total. Police estimate the child was in the car for over 60 minutes, according to Deal's arrest report.
Wilson went on to say the fact that the air conditioning was turned on appears to be a reason why nobody broke the window while they waited for a locksmith.
The arrest report says Deal denied requests from his brother, who he called for help, and the officer to break a window. It goes on to say he told them the air conditioner was on and he didn't have enough money for the repair.
Eventually, the officer broke a window and puller her out. The report does not give a specific time frame but says it was "several minutes" after the officer asked Deal for permission.
LVMPD’s Abuse Neglect Section is investigating the case and will determine if the officer committed a crime by not breaking the window earlier, the department says.
Amber Rollins, the director of KidsAndCars.org, a nonprofit focused on raising awareness about hot car deaths of children, she’s not surprised to hear of cases like Sayah Deal’s.
“There’s really nothing worse than having to live with the fact that your child is no longer here," she said, "and you are the one responsible whether it was intentional or not."
The nonprofit says this is the first death in Nevada in three years, and overall hot car deaths among children are down this year due to people driving less amid the pandemic.
But, she warns parents to keep an eye on their back seat.
“Do not be that parent that says this will never happen to me because it can happen to anybody,” Rollins said.
Deal's next scheduled court date is Oct. 8. He is being held at Clark County Detention Center on $20,000 bail.
Area where the body was found: