Mother of baby who died in hot car: 'His stupid actions caused me to lose my daughter'

The mother of a 5-month-old baby reacts to the new charges against her former boyfriend, who is accused of leaving the child in a hot car.

CALDWELL - Police are providing more details leading up to the death of 5-month-old Kyrae Vineyard, who was left in a hot car back in May.

Her mother's ex-boyfriend has been charged with involuntary manslaughter.

According to the police report and to Kyrae's mom, Elisa Johnson, her then-boyfriend, Haven Hackworth, volunteered to watch Kyrae as Johnson was at work. Kyrae was loaded into the back of Johnson's vehicle in a car seat and the three of them traveled together to drop Johnson off at work.

Johnson says during that drive, Hackworth had already forgotten that little Kyrae was in the car.

“When he dropped me off at work I was like take care of my child and he was like, 'Oh she was just so quiet I forgot she was in the vehicle,'” Johnson said.

From there, Hackworth drove the infant with him to the Dennis Dillon car dealership in Caldwell.

According to police, he arrived at noon and went inside to speak with a salesman and took the car he wanted to purchase for a test drive.

When Hackworth returned, he went back into the Mazda to get his vape pen, allegedly still not noticing Kyrae was in the car, and back into the dealership to finalize paperwork.

“I just don’t understand how he could go back to grab his vape and I just do not understand how he could not grab my daughter if he went back there, so I’m kind of really confused if he did it on purpose," Johnson said. "He said that the whole time, he was talking to the car dealership person about my daughter and about car seats and stuff like that."

Hackworth reportedly drove off in his new car and didn’t realize he forgot Kyrae in Johnson's Mazda until he got to Nampa.

By that time Kyrae had been in the car for four hours.

She was pronounced dead just before 4:30 p.m. at St. Luke's.

“I would do anything and everything in this world to bring my daughter back and I feel like Haven needs to be charged more because he took my daughter away and I suspect it was on purpose so I don’t understand any of it,” said Johnson.

MORE: Court documents reveal timeline in infant's hot car death

The Canyon County prosecutor declined to comment on the case, but Ada County's team leader for the Special Victim’s Unit of crimes against children, Cathy Guzman, says there are a lot of factors taken into consideration when prosecuting someone who leaves their child in a car.

“Basically how long was the child in the car, what’s the season, where was the car left at, what was the weather outside, how’s the child dressed, what’s the age of the child, was the care provider under drugs, alcohol or both and what’s the end result, is it death?” explained Guzman.

Hackworth is being charged with involuntary manslaughter, which carries a punishment of up to 10 years in prison.

In Idaho, Guzman says in cases like these, felony injury to a child and manslaughter are usually the most severe punishments because it’s difficult to prove intent.

“I think it’s very difficult to charge murder because you have to prove malice, that would be the maximum,” Guzman said.

Looking back, Johnson says she never noticed any red flags during her four-month relationship with Hackworth.
And now she must live every day wondering what could have been.

“I loved my daughter and I love my daughter still, she is my everything and I put trust into a guy I thought I trusted and his stupid actions caused me to lose my daughter,” says Johnson.

Hackworth is currently on pre-trial release.

© 2017 KTVB-TV


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