Baby Dies – Forgotten in Car


By Newsday Staff
May 15, 2014 –

BABY BEATEN TO DEATHThe mother of a 17-month-old boy is today standing by the child’s grandfather who forgot the baby in his car at work, on Tuesday, only to find him dead when he returned to the vehicle hours later.

“A most wonderful grandfather, the best grandfather in the world,” is the praise Masika Wharwood had yesterday for her father-in-law who had her son, Jaedon Cudjoe, in his care and is inconsolable over his death.

Winston Cudjoe, 56, had placed his grandson in a car-seat in the back seat of his Nissan Teana and left their home at Aquat Village, Penal to take the child to stay with a relative, before heading to work at a division of State-oil company, Petrotrin in Penal, on Tuesday morning.

But Cudjoe went straight to work, arriving at about 7 am, forgetting he had Jaedon in the back seat. The joy Cudjoe would have felt on learning he had received a promotion, heading to collect his letter at Petrortin Santa Flora branch turned into horror when he returned to Penal, at about 4 pm to discover the baby dead in his car.

It is a tragedy which his family, especially Jaedon’s mother do not blame him for even in their deep grief.

Wharwood told Newsday she wanted the world to know her father-in-law is a loving, wonderful person who has not stopped crying and she is now worried about his welfare.

On Tuesday, police said Cudjoe had told them he had nothing to live for now that his grandson is dead.

His grandchildren are his life, Wharwood said, and he always went in search of them during visits to the home.

“If they were asleep, and he couldn’t play with them, he would be disappointed,” she told Newsday, speaking of Jaedon and an older daughter.

She said people were saying all sorts of things about Cudjoe and the family without knowing the facts, responding to many comments on radio talk shows that they were careless and irresponsible with Jaedon’s care.

Wharwood said on Tuesday morning, her father-in-law took Jaedon to drop him off at his aunt’s home on his way to work at Petrotrin in Penal as he has been doing for the past few months.

He was accompanied by the baby’s grandmother whom he dropped off first at a location.

She said on his way to work, he encountered traffic and changed his route driving along another road. She said taking the detour caused him to forget he had not dropped off Jaedon.

Also, while on his way, Cudjoe got a call that he was promoted to a supervisor and was told to go to the Santa Flora office to collect the letter.

She said when he parked the car it was not even locked as someone was supposed to collect some tools from him.

Reports are that Cudjoe almost collapsed when he saw Jaedon motionless in his car seat. Wharwood said Cudjoe is hurting so much and blaming himself that she is fearful of what could happen to him. “I don’t want to lose him too, he is a wonderful person,” she cried.

Earlier yesterday, Wharwood, Jaedon’s father Fergus Joel Cudjoe and other relatives were at the Forensic Science Centre, St James for the autopsy on the little boy.

Pathologist Dr Valery Alexandrov confirmed Jaedon was severely dehydrated, suffered from multiple haemorrhages, and there were no sign of fluid in his body; all symptoms consistent with hyperthermia.

“People are questioning us as parents, and they are questioning Jaedon’s grandfather as well, saying that we are bad parents, but we just want to be left alone so we could mourn in peace,” Wharwood told reporters at the Forensic Science Centre.

An uncle, Andel Cudjoe, and a great uncle Renault Daniel, were with the baby’s parents and had to support them, especially his father, Fergus Joel.

They too said no one is placing blame on anyone for Jaedon’s death and their hearts go out to his grandfather.

Last evening, the family went to the Penal Police Station to give statements to investigators.

In the wake of this tragedy, TT Police Service Public Information Officer, Inspector Wayne Mystar yesterday appealed to members of the public to pay special attention to their children. Speaking at the weekly press briefing, at the Police Administration Building in Port-of-Spain, Mystar said he did not want to make any pronouncements on the investigation.

“We don’t want to be premature, when making a pronouncement like that but we will await post mortem results, enquiries will be continuing, statements would be recorded and investigators will keep the members of the public updated on what will take place,” he said. Sgt Ramsingh of the Penal Police Station is continuing investigations.

Petrotrin in a response to the tragedy said it has been providing counselling to the bereaved family since Tuesday.,194769.html

11 thoughts on “Baby Dies – Forgotten in Car”

  1. What a terrible tragedy. Grand parents have a special love for their grand children. Winston I am sure never imagine that this would happen to his grandson. The human brain can only hold about 7 short term memories at a time according to psychologist.
    On the day that this tragedy occurred a few things happened that override the short term memory “circuit”.

    On the way to dropping off the child due to traffic he changed route. That alone reorient the brain because normal procedures changed. Secondly he received the greatest news while on his way to work that he was promoted to being a supervisor, a position he probably wanted for some time. Third they told him to come quickly, while parking he was excited to get out of the car and receive the good news. Combine to all of that the child was sound asleep.

    I trust that the family would meet him and seek to bring comfort to him. He needs to know this was accidental and that the family forgives him and loves him. He may find great difficulty forgiving himself, this is a horrible pain to live with and anything can trigger the memory of his grandson. One thing is certain this poor man life would never be the same again….

  2. Hmmm….the real tragedy in all of this:

    1. Grandfather answering cell phone with grandchild in car while driving

    2. Aunt never called mother or father to see why child never came

    3. Mother or father never called or checked in on child well being

    4. All of them trying to take blame off themselves

    5. I say jail them all………….murder is crime against the state!

  3. 1. I think it is a bit presumptuous to assume that him receiving a phone call meant that he did not pull over to take the call or that he didn’t have a hands free set Bluetooth or something

    2. The family is not trying to past blame, the aunt did blame herself, she just merely trusted in the fact that the child was safe with relatives and I guess everyone did the same.

    The story is heartbreaking it so easy to forget at times, we are human, the man feels horrible. I am glad the family forgave him. Reading this story I thought this family just lost two people cause I doubt that Winston will be able to forgive himself. And we who comfy at home criticize rather than sympathize. They are fully aware of what happened and I’m sure they are all questioning themselves, blaming themselves and all we are doing is making them feel worse about something they obviously all feel bad about

  4. Forgiveness is the right thing. My heart goes out to the whole family. The responsibility to jobs can be very overwhelming, you can forget everything else.
    This is a lesson for all of us. When in doubt pick up the phone and make a call. Don’t take anything for granted. Write a daily “To Do” list and paste it where you can see it.

  5. All this neo religious , forgiveness talk, is giving me a headache. Enough!There is ample time for that, down the road.
    The fact is wanton carelessness, has caused the death of yet another child in T&T.
    Folks , who have absolutely no business having kids , are doing so, and our various support institutions, are saying- ain’t our business.
    However , another story , for another occasion.
    So tell us Lorna, who in your opinion ,was irresponsible here,56 year old Grandpa Cudjoe, who was-allegedly – so excited about promotion, that he could not drop the kid off to his sitter first, then after entering work , allowed 9 hours to elapse, while savoring the moment , before remembering his 17 months Grandchild , was locked in a suffocating car? Is it the Aunt , or whoever was the babysitter, who refused to call the kids parents, or loving Grandpa Cudjoe, to inquire about the kid, that did not turn up?
    Is it , one , or both of the parents , struggling in their minimum wage jobs, and living separately, due to economic constraints-as claimed?
    Is it Petrotrin, and their callous security, who saw a man enter their compound with a kid strapped in the back seat of a car, but did not make a patrol, or call to find out , why he did not return, even after 8 hours?
    Guess what folks, we’ve been down this part before, and as sure as night follow day, would db certainly do so many , many more times again.
    These are the unfortunate tales , of an underdeveloped nation. Kids do not vote , so we can physically abuse / beat them/sexually abuse them , neglect them , murder them,force some to commit suicide, and pretty soon ,just like Sri Lanka , and the Middle East, might even start having some strap themselves with bombs , in suicide….ohhhh no , heavens forbid. Then again, this is T&T, a nation of copycats.

  6. Neal,

    I understand your perspective. There were many factors that lead to this unfortunate situation. Much of it was oversight; from the grandfather, aunt, parents, babysitter and Petrotrin.

    However, you are going off on a tangent. You want to reference “tales of an underdeveloped nation” but you fail to realize…perhaps because you are not well read…that things like this happen all over the world. Going off on a tangent about rape and abuse is complete shit and has nothing to with this situation since this was UNINTENTIONAL!! If you cannot separate that fact from this situation before you comment…you are perpetuating the small mindedness of an underdeveloped nation.

    I could never imagine forgetting a child in a car but have a heart and take into consideration the man’s age, the fact that his routine was thrown off and his excitement for a promotion. I myself am not sure how I would move on as a mother but the point of the story is not to point fingers at this time. Lingering on this will not allow the family to heal, will not help to promote education and methods of preventing this sort of situations from happening again and above all it will not help to bring the baby back.

    The family is forgiving the grandfather for a reason. He was a good grandfather and meant no harm. Careless…yes. A mistake that should never have happened…OF COURSE… but this does not equate underdeveloped country status. The link below is the same story and includes cases around the world. Educate yourself before commenting and putting down a country as a whole for an isolated case.

    Interesting enough on the link a girl complain about why cases from abroad are even relevant…this is due to ignorant small-minded people like you who need things placed in perspective.

    1. MY COUNTRY? If you not able to take the good with the bad and don;t even want to claim what I assume is your own country too…MOVE!

      1. That’s the real problem with you phony patriots N Crawford .You have a distorted view of national responsibility, and an uncanny penchant ,for selective outrages.You are easily manipulated by others pushing their own narrow , self serving agendas, and worst yet is, disgusted by constructive criticisms.
        Your government is busy pushing opaque laws, to curb your freedoms across social media ,and the nation as a whole , all because a few whistle blowers , expose their political follies, and economic bandit- machinations, yet you bozos are silent.
        Every other week, an ultra racist Hindu leader, we all know,and close spiritual guru of your PM , spew his Anti African folks ,derogatory , racist bile , across our country, yet you, his PM , our cross sectional civic leaders -especially Africans -remain silent.
        Each time a child dies in gruesome fashion , your PM and her handlers , threatens to put in place more draconian legislation, to give the impression , that she cares more about kids , than the previous 5 male PM before her, yet you creatures are happy with that.

        White color tugs -chiefly from one tribe , has repeatedly done despicable acts, that are destined to tarnish our country, yet every day, their grateful tin pan soldier turn Security Chief , as well , as their morally repugnant AG, are desperately doing everything feasible ,to allegedly curb crimes – but only those committed by low end , simi literate folks, at the lower end of the socio economic , totem pole, and yet you phony patriots, remain docile , awaiting perhaps , another OXFORD educated Black skin ,White heart Eric Williams , or worst yet, another misguided tribal activist leader , such as Basdeo Panday, to return as your nation’s savior.
        Sorry , ain’t happening!
        Sorry NCrawford.Look in the mirror for that leader.Take off your cowardice, partisan mask, and fearlessly encourage change especially among the masses, stuck in the seemingly bottomless pit, of social despair.
        For years, I have been a consistent ‘voice of reason,’trying to focus/speaking up ,on issues of critical importance, that are affecting my country, but I am the problem -all because I do not fit into that social prison , that the likes of N Crawford , find appealing.
        Go figure!I won’t be daunted mi Pizzano!
        Repeat after me N Crawford:-Luv Humanity!Country over tribe !Our collective folks over tribal, ancestral homelands! Nation over glorified developed Euro Industrialized fiefdoms!
        Ain’t life beautiful? ‘Me think so.

  7. Fatal Distraction: Forgetting a Child in the Backseat of a Car Is a Horrifying Mistake. Is It a Crime?

    By Gene Weingarten
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Sunday, March 8, 2009

    The defendant was an immense man, well over 300 pounds, but in the gravity of his sorrow and shame he seemed larger still. He hunched forward in the sturdy wooden armchair that barely contained him, sobbing softly into tissue after tissue, a leg bouncing nervously under the table. In the first pew of spectators sat his wife, looking stricken, absently twisting her wedding band. The room was a sepulcher. Witnesses spoke softly of events so painful that many lost their composure. When a hospital emergency room nurse described how the defendant had behaved after the police first brought him in, she wept. He was virtually catatonic, she remembered, his eyes shut tight, rocking back and forth, locked away in some unfathomable private torment. He would not speak at all for the longest time, not until the nurse sank down beside him and held his hand. It was only then that the patient began to open up, and what he said was that he didn’t want any sedation, that he didn’t deserve a respite from pain, that he wanted to feel it all, and then to die.

    Full Article :

  8. Sorry , but I could not read through this sentimental /sappy , neo apologist article to the end.
    Maybe , because I did not , I’ll miss someting vital. Even I ,could have fallen for it, had I not believed , that ‘man is by nature, EVIL,’ or better yet recognized ,that “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked,”and so, very few of us knows what evil lurks within.
    This example , as the writer implied , might not be a crime , but that is not the real question , which should instead be -Is child neglect, and twin partner abuse , criminal, and won’t it continue , if culprits when caught, are treated with kid gloves , because fellow members of society over empathize?
    It is my view, that many in position of leadership, and influence ,whose duty it is ,to protect kids, have failed miserably.
    We get it- that the Child Security issues, we are trying to grapple with , in our growing democracy, others across the globe , are also dealing with similar challenges.
    Yes, we understand Judge , “mitigating circumstances,” mistakes, overwhelmed due to pressures of work ,and fractured families .These are all find and dandy , when trotted out repeatedly ,for our consumption, in efforts to justify inaction.

    The fact still remains , that there is a callous attitude ,towards Child safety, and Security, in T&T,and that is a tragedy.
    To move forward therefore, require honest, open debates,and action ,not only by vote accumulating politicians, but engaged regular folks , along with Civic leaders, working across private , public sector boundaries, in conjunction with Civil Society.
    One would hope the obviously subjective , co-opted members of the corporate, 4th Estate , would get off their fat hunches , and light symbolic fires where warranted , to expose the growing menace ,and more importantly ,hold socially comatose , and if we dare say ,non visionary leaders , hands to such fires.

    ‘Where you at T&T? ‘Is it going to be honest serious debate , towards action, or continual , feel good, escapist , culture driven mantra , coupled with misguided fixations, on other countries, with similar problems , as opposed to embracing their attempts, aimed at solution?
    Say yes to Sustainable Development!

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