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Hartsville 13-month-old child dies after being left in car; father charged

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David Gray III in an arrest photo and in a Facebook photo with daughter Sophia David Gray III in an arrest photo and in a Facebook photo with daughter Sophia
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HARTSVILLE, SC - Darlington Coroner Todd Hardee has confirmed  the death of a Hartsville child on Thursday.

Sophia Jane Goyeneche-Gray, 13 months old, died after being left alone in a car, for several hours, Hardee said.

The vehicle was parked outside of a Hartsville business on 5th Street near Carolina Printing where the father works, officials told WBTW.

Hartsville Police arrested David "Richie" Gray III, age 30,  of Darlington County and charged him with unlawful neglect of a child.  He is currently at the Darlington County Detention Center.

In a hearing on Friday afternoon, bond was set at $10,000 for Gray.  Gray posted bond and was released from jail, according to officers at the Darlington County Detention Center.  He was out of jail by 4:00 a.m. Saturday morning.

Coroner Hardee has asked for the assistance of the SLED child death division and the assistance of the Hartsville City Police Dept. 

An autopsy Friday determined that Sophia's cause of death was hyperthermia due to the extreme heat, Hardee said.

The Coroner ruled the death an accident.

Many of those closest to Gray say he was a doting father who would never have intentionally hurt his child.

"You could not walk into the room without that boy saying, let me show you what Sofia did today, let me show you a picture, let me show you what she's doing new," said co-worker and friend, Kayla Clyburn.

Gray's friends say that he showed up for his normal shift on Thursday morning, but that his routine that day was anything but normal.

"I spoke with him earlier that day, I sat with him maybe 20 minutes that morning and talked with him like I normally do," Clyburn said of her interaction with Gray on the morning of the incident.

Friends say he and his girlfriend Amanda, often had to juggle complex schedules and arrangements and on Thursday, that meant Gray at some point having the responsibility to transport their child to daycare. 

Gray's friends say when he showed up for work on Thursday, Sofia had apparently fallen asleep in the back of his vehicle.

They say in the midst of a busy work day, he somehow forgot about the child being in his vehicle.
"We heard the scream... and I saw Richie giving CPR to his child. If you knew this dad...he was one of the best. Every day, there wasn't a day that went by that he didn't comment or have something to say about his child," said Gray's co-worker and friend, Margaret Powers Floyd.

Floyd said Gray rushed out to try to save the child and did everything in his power to bring her back to consciousness, but was unsuccessful.

She says at one point he even yelled out for God to spare his child's life and take his instead.
"All I can say is he loved this child and please pray for him, and pray for the family and pray for us as co-workers because...we loved him just like we loved her," Powers Floyd said.

Gray's friends say that any punishment he could possibly receive in criminal court because of the incident, would pale in comparison to the punishment he is likely inflicting upon himself due to the sequence of events.

The details surrounding this case are currently under investigation.

Count on News13 to bring you updated information when it becomes available.


 

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