A prepared statement was issued today by Judge Wade and Ashley Naramore, whose child was found dead in his car by emergency workers July 24. The child died of heat-related causes, an autopsy determined. Police have not discussed circumstances, but the child apparently was left in a car seat in the backseat of the car for an extended period on a hot day. His father called 911 from the car, which was stopped on a street near his home.
On July 24, 2015, we experienced a parent’s worst nightmare when our son, Thomas, tragically passed away. No words can ever explain the depth of our love for him. This has taken an unimaginable toll on our family, friends, and all those who knew the pure joy of our sweet baby boy. We have learned that we are far from alone in our struggle, as diligent and loving parents from all walks of life have suffered this catastrophic loss under similar horrifying circumstances.
In addition to covering the prevalence and risk factors of hot car deaths, local and state news media have reported on the pending investigation into the circumstances surrounding our son’s death. We have cooperated and will continue to cooperate with law enforcement and with Mr. Scott Ellington, who has been appointed as the special prosecutor in this matter. We have also cooperated fully with Mr. David Sachar, the Executive Director of the Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission.
We are trying to be as patient as possible as the investigation takes place. We ask for the public’s patience with respect to that process as well. We, as much as anyone, want the matter concluded. Once it is complete and a decision has been made, regardless of the outcome, we desire to raise additional awareness by sharing our story in an effort to prevent this from happening to other children and families in the future. If even one child is saved and one family spared by the publicity generated by this horrible accident, it will make all the difference in the world
We thank you for your continued prayers and good thoughts.
Wade and Ashley Naramore
The death of 18-month-old Thomas Naramore occurred on the couple’s fifth wedding anniversary.
Scott Ellington of Jonesboro was appointed as special prosecutor to review the case because of Naramore’s ties to the local prosecutor. He told me earlier this week that he’d spoken further this week with Hot Springs police but anticipated a decision was still at least a couple of weeks away.
Naramore, who primarily handles juvenile matters, has not been presiding in court since the death, though he reportedly has continued to work on matters outside court.
A California researcher tracks heat deaths of children in cars. He reports 23 such deaths in 2015 and 31 in 2014. Handling of the cases in the justice system varies. One article on contrasting cases won a Pulitzer Prize in 2010 for Gene Weingarten of the Washington Post.
IN A SIMILAR EVENT: The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that a prosecutor has decided to charge a van driver who left a child in the van several hours outside state Rep. Justin Harris’ pre-school in West Fork. The child wasn’t harmed. The charge will be endangering the welfare of a minor, a misdemeanor.
UPDATE: Ellington issued a statement after reporters called him following the family statement:
The criminal investigation into the death of Wade Naramore’s son remains under investigation by my office and the Hot Springs Police Department. I have no comment as it relates to the statement Judge Naramore and his wife released today.