2-month-old baby's hot car death outside Harris Center was a homicide, medical examiner rules

The Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences also ruled that Ethan Rosa Deras died of hyperthermia, a heat-related illness.

ByMatt Guillermo KTRK logo
Tuesday, April 2, 2024
Autopsy of 2-month-old left in hot car to determine possible charges
Houston police wait to discuss possible charges against mom until autopsy for the 2-month-old boy left inside a car outside Harris Health Center.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A 2-month-old boy found unresponsive inside a car during a 100-degree day in southeast Houston last summer died as a result of a homicide, the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences said.

The ruling in little Ethan Rosas Deras' manner of death was released last month. Ethan died on Aug. 8, 2023, more than eight months after the Houston Police Department said the infant's mother left the child behind while she and a 4-year-old visited the Harris Center for Mental Health and Intellectual Developmental Clinic on Long Drive.

The medical examiner additionally ruled the child's cause of death as hyperthermia, which the National Institutes of Health defines as "an abnormally high body temperature caused by a failure of the heat-regulating mechanisms of the body to deal with the heat coming from the environment." The National Weather Service recorded the high temperature at nearby Hobby Airport at 100 degrees.

The video above is from an Aug. 10, 2023, report.

Eyewitness News contacted HPD and is awaiting answers about where the investigation stands after the homicide ruling.

According to police, officers received a call about the unresponsive baby at about 3:24 p.m. in the 5900 block of Long Drive near the South Loop East in the Gulfgate Riverview/Pine Valley neighborhood.

HPD Assistant Chief Yasar Bashir said after the mother and 4-year-old visited the Harris Center, they were getting ready to leave when the mom found Ethan still in the car.

The Houston Fire Department was called to the scene, and CPR was performed on the boy. He was then taken to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead, police said.

Two days after his death, ABC13 spoke with the baby's grandmother, who claimed the mother thought she left the baby at home.

Eyewitness News has yet to identify the mother since she isn't facing any counts.

ABC13 is awaiting facts from investigators. Watch Eyewitness News broadcasts for the latest developments.

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