Father whose baby was found dead in car was shaken up
Dave Anthony Searles was shaken up and sought psychological help after his five-month-old son was discovered dead in the back seat of his car four years ago.
That was the evidence given by Acting Inspector Bernard Harte as the case against Searles, who is accused of willfully exposing his son Ethan in a manner likely to cause injury to his health, continued in the District ‘A’ Magistrates’ Court Tuesday.
Ethan’s body was discovered in the back seat of Searles’ car, which was parked outside his workplace in Brittons Hill, St Michael, on December 5, 2012.
Searles, a resident of Cemetery Road, St Peter, has pleaded not guilty to the charge and he is being represented by attorneys-at-law Keith Simmons, Q.C, and Branford Taitt Jr.
Harte told the court he was the Station Sergeant in charge of crime at the Hastings Police Station when the report was made about the incident about 12:50 p.m.
He said he went on duty with his partner Sergeant Christine Husbands to Villa Road, Brittons Hill where he saw a silver grey Peugeot motorcar, registration number XH315, parked on the southern side of the business, Diva Hair World. A baby was in a car seat that was positioned in the middle of the car’s backseat.
“The baby appeared to be motionless,” Harte said.
He said Dr Andrew Murray arrived on the scene about 1:16 p.m., and pronounced Ethan dead.
Police investigations continued after the baby’s death, and three days later, Station Sergeant Harte and Sergeant Husbands went on duty to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital where Searles was in the area of Ward C4. The father was arrested on suspicion of the unlawful killing of his son.
He was taken to the Hastings Police Station where he was informed of his rights.
“I was advised by my lawyer to go ahead and give a statement,” Searles told police at the time.
Harte said Searles was also informed that there was “reason to believe that because of his negligence he was responsible for the death of his son.”
The inspector said Searles replied: “I honestly thought that I dropped off Ethan at nursery.”
The father was charged on December 9, 2012.
Under cross-examination, Simmons asked Harte whether he had questioned Searles about his reason for being at the hospital, to which the officer replied that he had found out that Searles had “developed psychological issues” and was detained by a doctor on the ward following the “unfortunate [and] traumatic” period of losing his son.
Through further questioning, Harte also revealed that the father had a daily routine during the week when taking his children to school.
But, the officer told the court presided over by Magistrate Kristie Cuffy-Sargeant, “because of the unforeseen lateness, the accused changed his routine” that day.
He also told the court that he observed that Searles was “extremely remorseful”.
Harte stated that even after getting medical attention, the accused man “was still shaken up”.
The case continues on March 21.