San Jose

Father Whose Baby Died in SUV “Made a Terrible Mistake”: DA

Three months after a 9-month-old boy died after being left in his father's SUV, the Santa Clara County District Attorney ruled on Monday that the dad will not be charged with the baby's death.

The father was extremely fatigued and mistakenly believed that he had dropped off the child, Giovanni Hernandez of Los Gatos, at a babysitter’s home on his way to work, the prosecutors' review concluded.

Giovanni's official cause of death on April 16 was hyperthermia, or elevated body temperature, according to the Santa Clara County Coroner. The DA did not identify the father by his full name, only as "Mr. Hernandez."

Rosen's decision is markedly different that what prosecutors decided near suburban Atlanta. Justin Ross Harris was charged with murder after the Cobb County District Attorney alleged he intentionally left his 22-month-old toddler in the back of the family SUV because he wanted a "child free life." Harris' friends and family, however, have countered that prosecutors made a "terrible mistake."

In the Santa Clara County case, the prosecutors' review concluded the tragedy was not caused by the negligence of a reckless parent but rather was an error by a "normally conscientious, exhausted father."

"That is the best news we have gotten all day," Kids and Cars president and founder Janette Janette said in phone interview from Philadelphia. "Those poor parents. Now, they can finally grieve."

In April, the day after Giovanni's body was found, Yousif Njimeh told NBC Bay Area that the father worked for his brother at his vending machine company, Star Vending. The father's usual routine was to park his silver Honda SUV on Payne Avenue in San Jose and then take off in the company vending machine truck. The father, who had two other children, worked from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Njimeh said. Njimen said sister-in-law was supposed to babysit the boy, but there was some "miscommunication."

San Jose police are investigating the death of a 9-month-old baby after they said the father forgot to drop him off at the babysitter’s before he went to work.

The dangers of parents leaving their children in hot cars was highlighted in the Pulitzer Prize-winning 2009 article "Fatal Distraction: Forgetting a Child in the Backseat of a Car Is a Horrifying Mistake. Is It a Crime?" The magazine piece, by Eugene Weingarten of the Washington Post, showed that anyone can forget a baby in a car, and that the most likely reasons are a change in schedule and sheer exhausation. Rosen and senior prosecutors read that article and were very "moved" by it, according to public communications officer Sean Webby.

IF YOU'RE INTERESTED: More tips can be found at The organization is also hoping that a petition will force the Obama Administration to provide more funding to the Department of Transportation to create innovative technology and require that technology be installed in cars.

NBC Bay Area's Marianne Favro contributed to this report.

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