Grandmother pleads guilty months after boy dies in hot car
A woman in Milton, Ont., has been convicted of failing to provide the necessities of life after her grandson died because she forgot him in a sweltering car this summer.
Court records show that Leslie MacDonald, 52, pleaded guilty to the crime earlier this month and the judge accepted a recommendation from both the Crown and defence for a suspended sentence plus two years of probation.
In an agreed statement of facts she admitted that on June 26 — a day that reached 30 C — she was supposed to take her grandson Maximus Huyskens, who was a month shy of his second birthday, to daycare.
But after picking up Maximus at her daughter's house, buckling him into his car seat and driving away, she says she didn't stop at the daycare, instead driving to her own house, mistakenly thinking she had already dropped him off.
She had worked the previous night so she went to sleep, and even when MacDonald, who is deaf, moved her car in the middle of the day she says she didn't notice the boy in the back of her car, which had heavily tinted windows.
Around 5 p.m. that day MacDonald says she went to pick up Maximus at daycare, but when she arrived she was told he never arrived, and it was only when she went back to her car that she discovered her grandson, dead in the back seat.
MacDonald says she drove back to the Huyskens' home, where her daughter grabbed Maximus out of the car. Paramedics were called, but according to the agreed statements of facts, by that time there was nothing they could do.
Maximus was pronounced dead and an autopsy found he had died from hyperthermia.
McDonald was also originally charged with criminal negligence causing death, but that charge was withdrawn.
Maximus was laid to rest in emotional service July 3 that drew family, friends and even some strangers, united in their empathy for his parents, Marcus and Tamara, who also have a daughter who was five when Maximus died.
Rev. Peter Tuyen Nguyen called the boy's death "so senseless, so wasteful and so inconsistent with all we know."
Maximus' parents, who didn't speak at the service where they struggled to contain their emotions, have said their son "shared his magic with everyone he met."
"He was a boy who loved to talk about birds in the sky and whales in the water. He was a boy who would always pick a flower for his parents whenever he saw one," they wrote in an obituary notice.