A German man forgot that his granddaughter was in the trunk and left her there. The 9-year-old was later freed from the trunk and given a clean bill of health, but her 72-year-old grandfather was left "visibly affected," say police.
The girl had asked her grandfather if she could ride in the trunk as they went to Sorpe Lake, The Local newspaper reported. All was well until he arrived at the lake and became distracted by the view. He went for a walk, completely forgetting his granddaughter and leaving her in the trunk.
Sometime later, passerby heard the girl screaming and pounding from inside the trunk; they immediately called police. Firefighters were able to pry open the trunk since the grandfather was away through the ordeal. The police spokesman told The Local that the grandfather was "visibly affected by the whole situation" when he returned.
Thankfully, the girl was given a clean bill of health; her grandfather was warned not to let anyone ride in his trunk again. No charges will be filed against him, though leaving an unattended child in a vehicle for a time is quite dangerous. In fact, experts are calling these accidents Forgotten Baby Syndrome.
Just last month, Karen Murphy was sentenced to probation after leaving her 2-year-old son in the car alone. Ryan Murphy was found dead due to heatstroke seven hours later. The case sparked controversy, as many claimed it was merely an accident.
"This was a tragic accident," Murphy's lawyer Edward MacMahon told reporters, "and not a crime. What she needs is to be supported and loved by the people who know and care for her and who know what a wonderful mother she is."
"Some people think: 'I can see forgetting a child for two minutes, but not eight hours.' But what they don't understand is that in his or her mind the parent has dropped off the baby at nursery and thinks the baby is well taken care of," Janette Fennell, president of kidsandcars.org, told the Daily Mail.
In this case of the absentminded grandfather, however, forgetfulness did not lead to harm. Thankfully the girl was rescued in time and nothing bad happened. Unfortunately, though, these occurrences are becoming all too common.