Soldier Charged With Manslaughter After Forgetting Son In Hot Ca - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

Soldier Charged With Manslaughter After Forgetting Son In Hot Car

Anniston, Alabama - An attorney representing an Anniston woman accused of leaving her 4-month-old son in a parked car says his client is devastated by the boy's death and isn't a criminal.

Sergeant First Class Katherine Papke, 35, claims she forgot to drop her son Bennett Owen Smith at day care after taking her two daughters, aged eight and seven to school.

She left her baby 'Bo' in the hot car for more than five hours.  Her attorney says she returned to her minivan at around 2p.m. when she realized to her horror that her child was still in the back seat.

Papke called 911 for help, but the child was later declared dead at the local hospital.

Later that day, Papke was arrested and charged with manslaughter and leaving a child unattended in a vehicle.  She was later released from the Anniston City Jail on a $100,000 bond.

Papke just got off maternity leave. 

Her attorney says Papke thought she had dropped off her son at daycare. 

Papke is a soldier with 15 years in the army, having served in Kosovo, two tours in Afghanistan and 15 months in Iraq.

Anniston officers say that leaving a child unattended in a car is a class B felony under a new law in Alabama which went into effect on August 1st.  However, this is the first incident that police in Anniston have had to deal with under the new legislation which applies to children under the age of seven.


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