On October 5, 1-year-old Sayah got trapped in her father, Sidney Deal’s, new car when he accidentally locked the keys inside of it. Temperatures in Las Vegas that day reached a high of 96-degrees. It was 3:30 in the afternoon.
As Mamas Uncut reported, the police report—obtained by the Las Vegas Sun—revealed that they were called to the scene by the father. However, when the responding officer told him all the ways in which they could help get his daughter out of the hot vehicle, Deal declined.
The report states that Deal refused to allow the police officer or his brother to break the window of his new car because he wouldn’t be able to afford the repairs. He also refused when the officer offered to call a locksmith and the insurance companies offer to send a tow truck at a cost.
As Deal’s partner was on the phone with their insurance company from 3:06 p.m. to 3:23 p.m., he reportedly told her to hang up because he didn’t agree to the price. Finally, after roughly an hour later, Deal gave in and allowed the officer to break the window.
Sadly, Sayah had already gone unconscious, despite alleging the vehicle’s air conditioning was on. She was pronounced dead at the scene and Deal was arrested.
After being charged with one count of child abuse or neglect causing substantial bodily harm, he is now being held on a $20,000 bond. Sayah’s mother, Mariah Coleman, spoke to the Las Vegas Review-Journal after learning of her daughter’s tragic passing and said, “If you loved and provided for your daughter so much, why did you let her die?”
Now, Deal’s mother is speaking out in defense of her son’s actions.
In an interview with KLAS, Deal’s mother, Artavia Wilson, says she believes her son wasn’t negligent in how he handled the situation that ultimately took her granddaughter’s life.
“He asked the officers to help him,” Wilson told KLAS. “My son was not negligent. The way he handled it was not that he cared more about the car. He thought his daughter was in air [conditioning].”
The responding officer believed that as well. As Wilson continued, she said Deal was told a locksmith was coming, although other reports suggest he declined the offer of a locksmith. “The cops got out and assisted him with the car, and then when he said the air was on, they said, ‘Oh, OK,’ — a locksmith was coming.”
In response to those who question why the police officer didn’t just break the window despite Deal’s protest, Metro police spokesman Larry Hadfield told People that “the parent was adamant not to break the window. They tried all other means and the officer became concerned and broke the window.”
Hadfield also said that when the officer first arrived he could see the Sayah was still breathing. “It is a tragic event. Police encourage parents and friends to not leave kids unattended in vehicles. This is one of those circumstances that could have been prevented.”
But as Wilson said in another interview with KTNV, she believes her son is being unfairly villainized. “He is a very responsible young man. Yes, he’s 27 [but] he has his own apartment, his own car, and he had full custody of his daughter.”
A GoFundMe campaign has since been set up to help pay for the cost of her funeral. Deal has not yet issued a plea.
Sara Vallone has been a writer and editor for the last four and a half years. A graduate of Ohio University, she enjoys celebrity news, sports, and articles that enhance people’s lives.