My three-year-old son died after my husband left him in a hot car – people think I'm an idiot for staying with him | The Sun

JAMIE Dill, 44, is a stay-at-home mum and lives in Indiana, USA, with her husband Andrew, 46, a university professor, and their son Owen, nine.

Today, Jamie opens up on the tragic incident that rocked her world, involving her husband and her three three-year-old son Ollie.

“Sitting beside my son’s body in the funeral home, I wept. Dressed in his favourite turtle pyjamas, he looked like he was sleeping, but I knew my mischievous, kind-hearted boy would never wake up. 

Just a couple of days before, I’d kissed three-year-old Ollie goodbye, before my husband Andrew strapped him into his car seat.

‘Bye, bye, Mama,’ he said and waved. It was the last time I saw him alive. 

The morning of July 9, 2019, had been a typical one. I’d made Ollie and his brother Owen, then five, breakfast, listening to them chat about our planned cinema trip that afternoon to see Toy Story 4


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I usually drove Ollie to nursery, but that day we agreed Andrew would take him on his way to work, while I stayed at home with Owen, as it was his school holidays.

At lunchtime, I checked the nursery app to see what Ollie had eaten and was puzzled to see he hadn’t been signed in that morning.

I called Andrew, who said he must have forgotten when he dropped Ollie off.

When they didn’t arrive home that afternoon, I phoned Andrew several times. No answer.

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A feeling of dread crept over me. I phoned the nursery and was put on hold. I hung up, put Owen in the car and drove straight there.

The scene in the nursery’s car park made me feel sick. I saw an ambulance, police cars and Andrew’s car with the rear door open. Shaking, I got out of the car, but a police officer stopped me and said Ollie had died.

Andrew had forgotten to drop Ollie at nursery and had driven to work, parked and gone inside. We’ll never know why Ollie didn’t say anything, or if he’d fallen asleep.

He died of hyperthermia, after spending around four hours in temperatures of up to 48°C in the car.

It was only after Andrew had driven back to the nursery that he discovered Ollie’s body in the back. 

While Owen was taken into the nursery by staff, I was led to a room by the police and Andrew was taken to the station to be questioned.

That night, I was allowed to see him, before he was taken to a mental health unit as he’d been threatening to harm himself. My emotions were all-encompassing – sympathy, pain, love.

I knew he’d never have harmed Ollie intentionally. He was released the next day and we were told he wouldn’t face charges – the police accepted it was a tragic accident. 

Planning the funeral was hard, but family and friends supported us and we also began therapy. We told Owen that Ollie had been in a car accident, as we felt that was all he could understand.

He kept asking when his brother was coming home, which was heartbreaking.

Four years on, Andrew and I are still married, despite comments online by strangers saying I’m an idiot for staying.

It hasn’t been easy and he carries a lot of guilt, but we’ve learned how and when to give each other space.

We never planned for Owen to be an only child, but I was sterilised after Ollie’s birth, so we can’t have any more. Owen is the light of my life and I’m very protective.

He has therapy and we’ve slowly revealed what really happened. His love for his dad has never wavered, though.

We talk about Ollie a lot. Milestones like Christmas are hard, but so are little moments, like seeing his friends ride their bikes for the first time.

Along with other families who have lost children in this way, I campaign for legislation that would make it mandatory for cars to have an alarm to alert the driver if a person or animal is left in the back.

We also run a non-profit foundation, Be Kind For Ollie, which raises awareness about hot-car safety. 

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I miss Ollie every day, but his greatest legacy is that we haven’t allowed what happened to destroy us. We live life with love, in memory of him.”

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Last year there were 33 hot-car deaths in the US.*

Documentary Fatal Distraction is about Justin Ross Harris, who was convicted of murder in 2014 after leaving his son in a car. The verdict was later overturned. 

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