When we think of parents, a multitude of notions come to mind. But one that we usually take for granted is that if the child is in a life-threatening situation, a parent will quickly do everything in their power to save their kid. The words ‘quickly’ and ‘everything in their power’ are imperative in the case of this particular incident, because the neglect and delay due to one man’s apathy resulted in the death of his toddler daughter.
Sidney Deal, 27, a Las Vegas man, accidentally locked his 21-month-old daughter, Sayah, inside his hot car. He then allegedly refused to break the windows to free her, apparently because he didn’t want to damage the car. He believed the air-conditioning was switched on inside the car, and thought his daughter was safe, according to People.
“He asked the officers to help him,” the man’s mother Artavia Wilson told 8NewsNow. “My son was not negligent. The way he handled it was not that he cared more about the car. He thought his daughter was in air [conditioning].” The mother said, “He said ‘no, mom she’s good,” Wilson said. “The police officers were there; they saw she was good.”
Wilson added her son loved Sayah. “He is awesome; I raised him. He is a man; he’s not the average young man,” Wilson said. “He’s an African-American, but my baby is a grown man, and he takes care of his children.”
This incident occurred on Monday, October 5, 2020, around 3:30 p.m. near Owens Avenue and H Street. According to the police report, after an argument with his girlfriend, Deal reportedly put little Sayah in her car seat, unbuckled, and turned on with the air conditioner running, but then realized he did not have his phone, and so went back to get it. When he returned to the car, he realized it was locked.
He called out to police officers, who offered to break the windows, call a tow truck, or a locksmith, according to an arrest report from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, as per Las Vegas Review-Journal. But all Deal did was call his brother to come to the scene. He didn’t do anything quickly.
When the brother arrived and offered to break the window, Deal reportedly “stopped him and said he wanted to wait for a tow truck” and “insisted he not damage his new vehicle, stating he had just bought the car and did not have the money to repair a broken window.” The brother told police Deal also asked for their mother’s insurance information.
Larry Hadfield, an officer with Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, said Deal was insistent about protecting the vehicle and hence, the officers had to wait before breaking the car window. He added, “The officers arrived and they could see the child breathing,” he tells PEOPLE. “The parent was adamant not to break the window. They tried all other means and the officer became concerned and broke the window.”
“It is a tragic event,” he says. “Police encourage parents and friends to not leave kids unattended in vehicles. This is one of those circumstances that could have been prevented.”
Officers say that by the looks of it, the girl was inside the car for an hour or so. The coroner’s report says Sayah’s appearance was consistent with being in a hot environment for an extended period of time.
Deal is being charged with child abuse/neglect with substantial bodily harm, after his 21-month-old daughter’s body was recovered from his vehicle. He is being held on $20,000 bail, and the court proceedings are currently on-going.