The parents of a 23-day-old baby girl, who died from heat inside a car in August, have been ordered to stand trial on charges they neglected the child to death.
Christopher and Angela Randolph were bound over by Special District Judge Thomas Baldwin following a preliminary hearing Thursday morning. The preliminary hearing came after Christopher Randolph, who claimed he was incompetent, was found competent to stand trial in a separate hearing in March. First Assistant District Attorney Heather Cooper, who is prosecuting the case, called two witnesses to testify Thursday — a medic, who responded to the 911 call from a local convenience store, and Det. Billy Turner, Ardmore Police Department Criminal Investigations Division, who was the lead investigator on the case. The two offered testimony about the circumstances surrounding the death of the couple’s infant daughter, Hannah.
Evidence included information Randolph, 28, and his 26-year-old wife were traveling in a packed car without air conditioning and only one operating window. While the couple had stopped multiple times to make sure their dog had water, they allegedly had not shown the same concern for the baby, who was in a back-facing child seat, facing the rear sun-drenched window and surrounded by a mattress, trash, food and numerous other items during scorching 100-degree August temperatures. Other evidence concerned the condition of the baby when the parents claim to have discovered she was no longer breathing.
A second child, a 15-month-old toddler seated next to the only functioning window in the car, was taken into protective custody at the time the baby was discovered deceased. Reports at the time indicated the little boy had not sustained injury as a result of the overheated, over-packed car.
But court documents obtained from The Columbus Dispatch show a Delaware County, Ohio, court permanently removed two other children from the couple’s custody in 2010 after it was determined they were unfit parents. And just days before the baby girl died in Ardmore, Franklin County, Ohio, Children’s Services caseworkers opened an investigation concerning allegations the Randolphs were neglecting the infant and toddler.
However, Bruce Cadwallader, spokesperson for the agency, said nothing was found to warrant the removal of the children during a full inspection July 25. At that time, Cadwallader said while the case remained open, the couple told caseworkers they were moving to Oklahoma Aug. 1.
Following the preliminary hearing and trial bind over order Thursday, the couple remains free on $15,000 bonds. Formal arraignment is set for 9 a.m. June 4.