While many across America are wrapping up their Fourth of July holiday weekend festivities, one family in Texas is in morning over the death of their two year old boy.
According to police, Sarbesh Gurung’s mother put him down for a nap on Tuesday afternoon. When she went to check on him, he wasn’t there. After a frantic search of their home, she called 911. Soon after, more than 200 volunteers, police, fire, and other first responders descended onto the Denton, Texas neighborhood to search for her missing son.
On the following day, when a neighbor was preparing for a family Independence Day holiday, they made a gruesome discovery in their SUV: Sarbesh Gurung was inside, dead.
Police Chief Frank Dixon told reporters, “Is it reasonable to assume that we checked every car, checked every door handle? No, we can’t reasonably assume that,” Dixon said. “There are probably going to be questions that we never have answers for, and that’s unfortunate.”
“We don’t know if the car was unlocked,” Dixon said. “We just don’t know.”
At the time the boy went missing, the outside air temperature was 93. While the SUV had dark tinted windows and a solar shade, the temperature inside likely reached lethal levels.
A neighbor of the family said the boy’s mother had told her Wednesday that Sarbesh loved getting inside cars. “You just think, ‘Why didn’t I look there?’” Martha Holt told the Record-Chronicle. “It was right there. And you know it was a white SUV just like the one they have. When I saw that this morning, I thought, ‘Oh, he might have thought that was his car.’”
Sarbesh Gurung is the 18th child death this year due to vehicular heatstroke, according to NoHeatStroke.org which tracks such tragedies. On average, an American child dies every 8 days due to being left behind in a hot car. During 2018, a record 52 child died.
According to KXAS-TV, Sarbesh’s family moved to the area from Nepal in 2006 so his father could pursue a master’s and doctorate at UNT.
Upon learning of the news of her son, Sarbesh’s mother required medical attention. “The family is just devastated. The mother is being treated right now for some undetermined medical conditions. She had a panic attack when she was notified,” said Dixon.