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Death of infant left in vehicle 'tragic accident'

Burbank police won't file charges after 1-year-old dies of heat stroke

By Michelle Manchir and Jonathan Bullington

Tribune reporters

10:28 PM EDT, August 31, 2013

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Candace Cosby thought little of seeing a female neighbor pull into her driveway on a steamy Friday afternoon in southwest suburban Burbank.

But her attention was piqued a few hours later when she saw authorities descend on the two-story brick home in the 4800 block of West 85th Street, where police say 1-year-old Ivan Villa was unconscious after being left unattended in the family's vehicle for 21/2 hours in 90-plus degree heat. He later died.

After reviewing the case with the Cook County state's attorney's office and state Department of Children and Family Services, Burbank authorities said Saturday they wouldn't file charges in the boy's death. Earlier in the day, DCFS said they were investigating the boy's parents for neglect and the Cook County medical examiner's office ruled his death a homicide caused by heat stroke and child neglect.

"It was learned through this investigation the parents never intended on harming their child," Burbank police said in a release. "The circumstances surrounding this incident are a tragic accident."

Cosby, 25, said she started her shift at 3 p.m. Friday as a caregiver for residents of a group home across the street from the Villa family's house. She said she was sitting on the living room couch a short time later when she looked through the picture window and saw the female neighbor pull into the driveway.

"There wasn't much activity yesterday because it was so hot," she said.

Then sometime after 5 p.m., Cosby said, several emergency crews arrived at the home. About two minutes later, she saw a paramedic carry out the little boy.

"His little limbs were flailing," Cosby said. "He didn't look conscious."

Paramedics took Ivan to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where he was pronounced dead at 6:27 p.m., according to the medical examiner's office. Burbank police Division Chief Michael Dudlo said the boy's parents found him in the car and brought him into the home before calling 911 and administering CPR.

The boy's parents are longtime Burbank residents who moved into the house on 85th Street last year with their five children, Dudlo said. DCFS spokesman Dave Clarkin said the agency had not had any previous contact with the family.

Cosby said she saw three or four children escorted by authorities from the house to a black van, which left the area. She said she later saw police photographing the woman's SUV. The vehicle was later towed, she added.

On the quiet block Saturday, some neighbors said they were stunned to hear of the boy's death. Aurora resident Greg Zanis, who travels the country placing homemade crosses at the sites of deaths, placed a cross bearing Ivan's name in front of the Villa home.

"It's so hard to do that for a 1-year-old," said Zanis, 62.

jbullington@tribune.com

mmanchir@tribune.com