Tennessee police are investing the death of a baby boy who was left in a scorching minivan amid sweltering temperatures after his mom forgot to drop him at church day care, authorities said.
Five-month-old Joel Gray was found unconscious in his rear-facing car seat outside of the Donelson Heights United Methodist Church at around 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday after his mother came to pick him up but was told he wasn't there, The Tennessean newspaper reported.
Stephanie Gray, 39, had meant to take the boy to the center after dropping his 11-year-old brother off at a nearby middle school that morning, but forgot and drove home instead, authorities said.
Cops said the boy sat in the oven-like car in the family's driveway for nearly seven hours, as temps in Donelson, east of Nashville, soared above 90 degrees.
When it was time to pick the boy up, Gray got back in the car and drove to the church without realizing he was already in the back seat.
"Everyone is just in total shock," Metro Councilman Steve Glover, who attends the same church, told the newspaper. "They're just a very loving, close-knit family," he added. "I don't think anyone that knows them, or for that matter, anyone who doesn't know them, doesn't have a void in their hearts right now."
Gray, an attorney who specializes in veteran's issues, has not been charged with a crime.
The tyke was the third in the Nashville region to die in a hot car in the past week. Last Thursday, two children were found dead inside a car in Smyrna after their mom, Samantha Harper, said she put them there and then fell asleep in her house.
Harper was charged with two counts of especially aggravated child abuse and made a brief court appearance Thursday.
Five children have died as a result of being left behind in hot cars in Tennessee this year, while 23 have died nationwide, The Tennessean reported.