By Shereen Siewert
Temperatures inside a vehicle where a Schofield father left his child for 10 hours soared to more than 135 degrees July 28, conditions that left the boy in critical condition, according to court documents filed Friday.
Zachary Wakeen, 22, was formally charged Aug. 2 in Marathon County Circuit Court with felony child neglect in connection with the incident. Court documents show Wakeen also faces charges of possession of methamphetamine, after police discovered drugs inside the home where Wakeen slept during the hours his child was trapped inside the vehicle. The boy was strapped into a car seat and the windows were rolled up during the time he spent in the vehicle, police said, while outside temperatures rocketed to 82 degrees.
Officers received a 911 call at 12:11 p.m. Sunday, July 28 requesting an ambulance at a home in the city of Schofield. When they arrived, they discovered a mother holding a young child in her arms. Police say the 2-year-old boy was left in the vehicle from 2 a.m. until about noon.
According to the criminal complaint:
Wakeen told police he drove to his parents’ home at around 2 a.m. on July 28 and picked up his child. Upon returning to his residence a short time later, Wakeen made two trips in and out of the car “unloading stuff” and went back into the home. Then, Wakeen said, he “forgot” the boy in the car. Wakeen told police he “sat down for a second” on the couch and “fell asleep” and that it was all “a blur.”
Upon waking, Wakeen said he wondered where his child was and then it “clicked” that he had left the child secured in his car seat in the car in the driveway, the complaint states. Wakeen said he ran to the car and got the child and brought him in to the house where he and the child’s mother tried to cool him down in the bathroom. The child’s mother began CPR and Wakeen called 911.
Officers used a thermal meter in Wakeen’s vehicle with the meter pointed on the car seat where the child had been strapped in and recorded the temperature at 135.8 degrees, according to the police report.
When the child arrived at Ascension Saint Clare’s Hospital in Weston, doctors determined the boy was in critical condition. He was airlifted to Marshfield Medical Center for treatment.
The child’s mother was at home and sleeping during the child’s ordeal, police said. When the mother woke at about 11:22 a.m., she did not realize Wakeen was home until she saw him lying on the couch.
On July 31, officers searched Wakeen’s residence and discovered methamphetamine in the bedroom Wakeen shared with the child’s mother, the complaint states. The child’s mother is not facing charges at this time.
Wakeen is being held in the Marathon County Jail on a $50,000 cash bond. A preliminary hearing is set for Aug. 12.