MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

May 15, 2013

ME rules toddler’s death an accident

Medical officials have ruled a Tahlequah infant’s death last year while left in a parked, heated car, was accidental.

Whitney Butler died in November after being left, bundled in a car seat, in a car outside a Tahlequah park while her father. Cody Butler, 19, spoke to someone outside.

Butler’s autopsy report was released Tuesday, and revealed the toddler had a rectal temperature of 108 degrees.

District 27 District Attorney Brian Kuester said it was unlikely Butler would be charged with a crime

“The (medical examiner) basically confirms what all the other reports indicated, that this was an accident,” Kuester said. “There was no indication of what I would consider gross negligence.”

Kuester said prosecutors would likely meet one more time before making a final decision. Shortly after seeing the case, First Assistant District Attorney Jack Thorp said prosecutors would likely not charge Butler. However, to be prudent, he said they would wait on the autopsy report before reaching a decision.

Reach Dylan Goforth at (918) 684-2903 or dgoforth@muskogeephoenix.com.

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