Father of Burlington, Ont., boy found dead in hot car facing charges

The father of a Burlington, Ont.. boy who died after being left in a hot car on May 23 has been charged with negligence causing death.

Toddler's parents described as 'nicest couple next door you could imagine'

The father of a toddler in Burlington, Ont., who died after being left in a hot vehicle is facing charges, according to Halton Regional Police. (David Ritchie/CBC)

The father of a Burlington, Ont., boy who died after being left in a hot car on May 23 has been charged with criminal negligence causing death.

Shaun Pennell is also charged with failing to provide the necessaries of life, according to a media release from Halton Regional Police.

The 37-year-old is scheduled to appear in a Milton, Ont., court on June 27.

"Out of respect for the family of the victim during this difficult time, privacy is requested," wrote police in the release. "Please be reminded that all persons charged are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law."

The boy, whom police previously said they believe was three years old, was found inside a vehicle in a parking lot outside the Crossroads Centre, a faith-based television station on North Service Road.

A toddler has died after being found in a vehicle in Burlington

4 years ago
Duration 1:00
EMS and police attempted life-saving measures but were unsuccessful

Emergency crews were called to the lot by a "hysterical male" who said the child was without vital signs, according to police.

The boy was outside of the vehicle when police arrived, and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

An autopsy completed the next day by police concluded the toddler died of hyperthermia after being exposed to high temperatures for an extended period of time, "consistent with the child being left in a vehicle."

Officials have not said how long the boy was left in the car. Environment Canada predicted a high of 28 C on the day he died.

'Wonderful family' in mourning

The community at the centre responded to the child's death with a prayer vigil and hugs.

Shawn Saulnier, who owns the building that houses the centre, previously confirmed he knows the boy's "wonderful family" personally.

"They're excellent parents and just a beautiful couple. Literally, the nicest couple next door you can imagine." ​

Parents of toddler left in car are the 'nicest couple'

4 years ago
Duration 0:18
Shawn Saulnier said the boy who died after being left in a hot car in Burlington comes from a "wonderful family."

Following the boy's death, health-care and emergency officials warned parents it's not safe to lock kids in a hot car — even for a few moments.


Dan Taekema


Dan Taekema is a reporter with CBC Hamilton. He has worked for CBC News in Windsor and Toronto and for newspapers around southern Ontario. You can reach him by emailing daniel.taekema@cbc.ca.