Police: Toddler died in a hot car after dad refused to let cops break the window – ‘Didn’t want to pay to fix it’

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LAS VEGAS, NV– Sidney Deal, 27, allegedly chose his car over his one-year-old child where temperatures reached the mid-90’s in Las Vegas.

His daughter, Sayah Deal, died in the car.  

He was arrested on felony child abuse charges.

Deal was set to have a court hearing at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 6th, but he refused to appear due to medical reasons and the court accepted this. Metro Police could not release any information on his condition, due to privacy laws.

Special Victims Unit Lt. David Valenta said Deal flagged down a patrol vehicle driving nearby around 3:30 p.m. and told the officer he was locked out of his car while it was running with the air conditioner on and his daughter inside.

Deal told police he had gotten into a fight with his girlfriend, Sayah’s mother, Mariah Coleman. This was confirmed by Coleman, who asked for him and his daughter to leave the apartment, police said.

He decided to take his daughter to spend the day with his brother. He accidentally locked the car when he realized he didn’t have his phone. He went to get his phone, and he came back to the car. The car was locked.

He headed back to the apartment, where he continued to argue with the Coleman for 15-minutes. Deal was trying to get her to hand him his phone.

After she did, the girlfriend said he returned to ask if she could call his insurance company. The reason was that he’d locked his keys inside the car.

The woman made the call at 3:06 p.m. and spent 23 minutes on the line. She said Deal told her to hang up when he disagreed with the price quoted to send someone. His car didn’t qualify for that service.

Four minutes after she hung up at 3:29 p.m., Deal flagged down the officers. By that time, the girl had been in the car for at least 42 minutes, according to the Las Vegas Sun.

The little girl walked from the back seat to the front seat, and after a few minutes, laid down on the floorboard of the back seat. He thought she fell asleep, but he thought the air conditioner would help her keep cool on a hot day.

Officers responded to the 1700 block of H Street, near Owens Avenue, west of Martin Luther King Boulevard about 3:30 p.m. on October 5. The arrest report stated that Deal flagged down a patrol unit. Police said the father was trying to open the car with a hanger.

He told Police he accidentally locked his keys in the car. The car was left running, but his daughter was stuck inside. An officer tried to call for a tow truck and a locksmith. He offered to break open the window.

Deal asked the officer instead to call his brother.

Deal’s brother told police he knew of the incident when his brother called him from an unknown number. Deal told him what he told authorities. Allegedly, Deal told his brother to call his mother. He wanted her to call her insurance. The brother told police he was confused by the call, and he came to his brother’s house.

At the H Street home, Deal told his brother that the toddler was okay, but he needed his mom to call a locksmith through her insurance. When he got there, the brother immediately wrapped his shirt around his hand and offered to punch out the window, authorities said. Deal stopped him. According to the police, Deal told his brother he had just bought the car and didn’t have the money to fix a broken window

After several minutes, the officer broke the back window to get inside the car. The girl was dead before paramedics arrived, and she was in the first stages of rigor mortis. It wasn’t clear how many minutes elapsed before Deal gave consent for his window to be broken. 

He allegedly admitted to rejecting offers to break the window to avoid a bill and damage to his new car.  The Clark County Coroner’s Office said Sayah’s cause and manner of death are pending, but authorities believe she had been trapped in the car for more than an hour.

Coleman, tells 8 News Now she saw Sayah just hours before her death. Coleman says the loss of her 21-month-old daughter has left her broken, and now she wants answers. She described her feelings:  

“I’m numb, I’m hurt, I’m disappointed.”

Coleman described her as a sweet little girl, who adored her family. Now, she is saying she’ll never get that back. She said:

“My baby’s smile. The way she turned up a room, how she danced how she laughed. How she always wanted to play with my hair when she’s seeing me.”

On Tuesday, October 6, he was to appear in court for an arraignment. He refused to due to medical refusal. His family held a press conference outside of the courthouse after the scheduled arraignment.

Artavia Wilson, Sydney Deal’s mother, rejected comments in court that her son was negligent. Deal had full custody of the one-month-old. Wilson told KTNV:

“My son is a great father. My son is a very responsible young man. She was everything to him.” 

Coleman denies that Deal had full custody of their daughter. She said that they had joint custody of the baby since her birth Dec. 19, 2018.

Coleman claims Deal took the infant last winter, and never brought her back. She said she called the police several times, but Deal only allowed her occasional visits with Sayah. She last saw her daughter about two hours before her death.

District Court documents show Deal was given majority custody of the baby for a two-month period beginning in February 2019. At that time, Coleman was ordered by the district attorney’s office to pay $100 a month in child support.

Coleman and Deal don’t have any other children together. Coleman’s oldest daughter, Kaya, turned 10 on October 5.  Coleman said Kaya is just as heartbroken over her baby sister’s death. Deal was never listed on the baby’s birth certificate, and Coleman claims it was a choice made between Deal and his girlfriend. District Court documents listed no known father for the baby.

Now, she is waiting on Deal to contact her with an explanation of why he valued the car over their daughter. Coleman said:

“I want answers, I just want to know why her dad wouldn’t be a regular dad and bust the windows out and do what he had to do as a parent. It’s not making sense to me at all.”

On Tuesday, Coleman gathered with family and friends to mourn the loss of Sayah. They lit candles, placed flowers, and released balloons into the air. Coleman asked standing in the spot where her daughter died the day before:

“If you loved and provided for your daughter so much, why did you let her die?”

She continued:

“I love my community. I come from a strong community, a strong family. It was awesome, I love it, I just felt like I was loved. But it’s not going to bring my baby back at all, it’s not.”

Coleman launched a GoFundMe page to help raise money for the toddler’s funeral services and had raised $2,432 as of October 11, 2020. She wrote on the site:

“I am a single parent and getting my princess laid properly means the most to me.”

Coleman hasn’t heard from anyone in the Deal family since Sayah died she told the Review-Journal. She said she’ll be at every court hearing for Deal, and she wants him to go to prison. She said:

“He had no remorse in his mugshot. My baby is gone, and I need somebody to do time.”

According to the Review-Journal, Child Protective Services investigated five allegations of possible abuse at the family homes of 21-month-old Sayah Deal between July 17, 2018, and June 16, 2020. Each of the allegations were found unsubstantiated.

Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson said of the tragedy:

“This is a terrible, terrible tragedy that should have been avoided.”

Amber Rollins, director of kidsandcars.org, a nonprofit focused on raising awareness about hot car deaths of children said:

“There’s really nothing worse than having to live with the fact that your child is no longer here, and you are the one responsible whether it was intentional or not.”

The nonprofit says this is the first death in Nevada in three years. People are driving less due to the Pandemic, and overall hot car deaths among children are down this year.  

Rollins says:

“Do not be that parent that says this will never happen to me because it can happen to anybody.”

The number of heatstroke deaths of children in vehicles in 2020 is currently 24. On average, 39 kids under the age of 15 die each year from heatstroke after being left in a vehicle.

Nearly every state has experienced at least one death since 1998. In 2018, a record number of 53 kids died after being left in a hot vehicle according to noheatstroke.org.  The total number of U.S. pediatric vehicular heatstroke deaths from 1998-present is 873.

The overall consensus is that Sayah died of heatstroke. However, Deal kept insisting the air conditioner was on. There is a possibility that she could have died due to carbon monoxide poisoning. Nearly 400 Americans die from carbon monoxide poisoning in their home or car.

Carbon monoxide is called the silent killer because it has no odor and no color. It starves the organs from getting the oxygen they need. Extreme exposure could cause unconsciousness, convulsions, cardiorespiratory failure, or even death. Says.com states that many people die in their sleep in cars due to carbon monoxide poisoning.

According to Iowa State University’s Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Department, carbon monoxide poisoning from a vehicle can come from a defective exhaust system, a defective emission system or poorly tuned engine, a vehicle with holes in the car body, or operating vehicles in any enclosed building.  

“This is because internal combustion gasoline engines produce extremely high carbon monoxide concentrations. Even a properly tuned engine will produce more than 30,000 parts per million. of CO in the exhaust stream before the catalytic converter.

An exhaust leak can allow the escape of CO before it is converted to non-toxic CO2 in the catalytic converter. The CO leaking from the exhaust system can enter the vehicle through holes in the body or open windows or doors. Exhaust systems must be gas-tight from the engine to the end of the tailpipe.”

Fox 5 Atlanta posted this story on their Facebook page. It received 5.1 thousand reactions, 3,000 comments, and 1.9 thousand shares. Some of the comments include:

One said what we are all thinking:

Lord have mercy! They should’ve just broken the window without his consent. I don’t think you should have anyone’s consent to save a life, not in this case. Well, he can’t ride his new vehicle from jail.”

Another echoed our initial thoughts:

What a terrible human being! Hope they charged him with murder! I don’t understand why they needed permission to save a LIFE!”

Another told us what she would do:

“He didn’t have the money to pay a locksmith or a tow truck. He should have asked the officers if they would help. Break the window, save the child, take up a collection. The child comes first! What are people thinking! The child first, then sort out the rest! The cost of the funeral and court costs are going to be way more than the cost of the window. The loss of the child will haunt him forever. Tragic! Needless! This should never have happened!”

One summed up everyone’s opinion:

Who cares what he said ! This is a babies life !!! 😡😡😡” (SIC)

And another:

“All of them should be locked up. Sickening and no value for a human life!! Totally disgusted with people and the lack of humanity and common sense. F***king pathetic.”

WPIX Pittsburg also posted on Facebook. They garnered 188 reactions, 156 comments, and 27 shares. The readers there were just as bewildered as the people in Atlanta.

I don’t understand why he had any say when it was a rescue effort?”

Common sense isn’t lost on too many in this country as yet another person states what they would do.

“Break the window. Period”

Another speculated what he thought:

Sounds like premeditated murder to me”

One pointed out:

“He just looks insane that look in his eyes like he done snapped,”

A lot of people tried to blame the cops. However, one guy pointed out:

“It shows you what happens when the police are not doing there job of fear of retaliation it’s kind of messed up I don’t see any video don’t blame the police for doing nothing it’s what you wanted.”

Girl Talk women empowerment also posted on their Facebook Page. There were 26,000 reactions, 29,000 comments and 106,000 shares.

One made light of the situation:

Wait until he finds out how much lawyers charge”

Some are suspecting that the child may have been dead before being left in the car.

This is absolutely disgusting. The fact that something smells fishy with his behavior and the rigor mortis statement. This man (I use that term loosely) clearly comes from trash if his mom is stating that her son was not negligent in this tragedy.

Lastly, the fact that anyone would value a vehicle over a life, especially the life of their own child is just sick. I am in shock as to how many people seemed to be involved who didn’t break the window regardless of what this callous swine said or did. I am sickened by this whole story. May this sweet baby rest in peace. I hope he rots.”

One was horrified:

“This can’t be real. Adults standing by, doing nothing to save a child, instead arguing with her father over insurance cost of damaging a car window? That leaves a deep sick feeling in my stomach. Everyone at that scene is liable and needs to be prosecuted for the death of that innocent child! 😞😞😞

One claimed to be a physician, and stated:

I’m a physician. He killed her and put the body in the car seat and stalled on rescuing the body as a cover up. Rigor mortis takes a very long time, there’s no way she developed rigor mortis that quickly unless she was already dead. That poor baby.”

Deal was booked into the Clark County Detention Center on one count of child abuse or neglect causing substantial bodily harm. He remained jailed during a brief hearing at which a defense attorney was appointed to his case.  The defense attorney is Robert Langford. Deal is being held on $20,000 bond.

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