Texas father charged in death of infant daughter left in hot minivan for 3 hours

A Texas father has been charged with manslaughter after he put his six-month-old daughter in a fridge with the door open after she had been left in a hot car for nearly three hours.

According to an arrest document obtained by Fox4 News Dallas-Fort Worth, Michael Thedford, an unemployed high school teacher, dropped off his two other children at a Dallas-area daycare Tuesday around 9 a.m. before returning home to sleep.

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Thedford told police he had been asleep for about three hours before he woke up and discovered his child “hot as a brick” in the family’s minivan. Thedford took his unresponsive child inside the home and “placed the child in the refrigerator for an undetermined length of time prior to calling 911,” Fox4 News quoted the affidavit as saying.

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The National Weather Service said Tuesday’s temperatures were in the low 30s but felt like the upper 30s.

According to WFAA, Thedford told police he called his wife and 911 while performing CPR on the infant. His daughter was found dead in the kitchen when officers arrived.

Speaking with the news station, Celina High School assistant superintendent Bill Hemby said Thedford loved his children and was an excellent teacher.

“Michael is rocket-science smart,” Hemby said. “He did a great job for us while he was here. We all had an understanding of how much he loved his children. We’re all in mourning, just like he is.”

Criminal attorney Todd Shapiro told Fox4 News he believes the father was overcharged as a result of the incident.

“I think it’s going overboard. I think they’ve overcharged him, based on the facts of this case,” Shapiro told the news station. “That he acted in a reckless manner. I don’t think he consciously disregarded any unjustifiable risk in this case.

READ MORE: Texas boy, 3, dies after becoming trapped inside hot car

“It looks like he tried to do CPR to resuscitate her to no avail, so it sounds like his actions were very much as a parent that was living out their very worst nightmare,” Shapiro said.

Thedford was released on $20,000 bond.

With a file from The Associated Press

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