1-year-old baby dies after being left in car parked in church parking lot
Loren Townsley/ The Republic

A 1-year-old boy who died after being left in a hot car Saturday was not noticed until his father drove from Mesa to a south Phoenix church, police said Monday.

Mesa police confirmed they were taking over the investigation of the death of 1-year-old Jasiah Riggins, who was found dead inside the vehicle about 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Phoenix police and fire officials initially were called to the Free Church of God in Christ, near 28th Street and Broadway Road in Phoenix, for a report of an unresponsive child who had been left in the vehicle during the afternoon heat.

Further investigation determined he child’s father had dropped off his wife and another child at the church Saturday and then returned with Jasiah to their Mesa home “for a nap,” Mesa police said in a statement released Monday.

After a few hours, the father was called to pick up his wife and child at the church, police said. As he was arriving at the church, the man noticed the boy had been left in the car while he was back in Mesa, police said.

The investigation is ongoing at this time, and initial observations point toward a tragic accident,” said Detective Nik Rasheta, a Mesa police spokesman.

One day earlier, a 7-month-old boy died after being left in a hot car in northeast Phoenix.

Zane Endress was discovered not breathing at about 4 p.m. inside a vehicle parked near 44th Street and Greenway Road.

His death is under investigation by Phoenix police.

Health and public-safety experts say that the heat inside a vehicle can turn deadly for a small child in little time, noting that the inside of a car can reach 150 degrees in 15 minutes when it is 100 degrees outside.

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