Oregon boy, 6, found in car trunk; critically injured

Posted at 4:04 PM, Jun 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-28 16:04:55-04

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- A 6-year-old Oregon boy was hospitalized Wednesday in critical condition with severe heat exhaustion after he was found locked inside his family's car trunk on a hot day, police said.

Police hope to review surveillance video from a camera attached to a neighbor's house to figure out how the boy got into the trunk, said Lt. Kerry Curtis, a spokesman for the Medford Police Department. The child was likely in the trunk for up to an hour on Tuesday afternoon when temperatures reached 90 degrees (32 degrees Celsius), Curtis said.

He was flown by helicopter to Oregon Health & Science University Hospital in Portland, where he remains unresponsive and is undergoing brain scans, he said.

Authorities originally said in a statement that the case appeared to be an accident and not criminal. But Curtis said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday that police have not ruled anything out. The surveillance video should provide more answers, he said.

"That's the million-dollar question that we're trying to answer, is how he got (in) there," he said.

Authorities do know the boy was not playing hide and seek, Curtis said.

The boy's parents do not speak fluent English, and a language barrier hampered the investigation until authorities could get a translator to the home Tuesday night.

The boy's father was working in the garage and the mother was inside their home when the boy disappeared, Curtis said. Both parents thought he was with the other parent. When they realized he was missing, they began to search and the mother spotted a cellphone the boy had been playing with in the back seat of the family's 2003 Honda Civic, which was parked in an alley behind the house, Curtis said.

When she opened the car door to get the cellphone, she heard the boy whimpering in the trunk, Curtis said.

Medford is about 275 miles (440 kilometers) south of Portland.