Man Arrested In Connection To Death Of Infant In Ardmore

Monday, June 16th 2014, 7:56 pm
By: News 9

The Carter County District Attorney has filed a charge of first-degree manslaughter against the relative of a 2-month-old baby, who died after being left in a hot car for several hours last week.

The infant was allegedly in the care of 42-year-old Richard A. Chastain, a great uncle, when it died last Thursday.

Prosecutors say the evidence shows Chastain failed to care for the child at all, although they are still piecing together the exact circumstances of the tragedy.

"At this time," said Ardmore police officer Kevin Norris, "We're not exactly sure what happened."

Investigators do know that on the day in question, June 12, temperatures crept near 100 degrees in Ardmore. They say the 2-month-old baby boy was left strapped in his car seat for seven hours.

"It has been difficult," said Norris, "[and] obviously a traumatic event for the family."

Authorities also say they know that Chastain was the person responsible for the child's care at the time of his death.

"He was supposed to take the children to daycare," explained Heather Cooper, Carter County First Assistant DA. "He did drop off the 1-year-old [but] for some reason did not drop the infant off at daycare."

Chastain allegedly told investigators he "forgot" about the baby and parked the car outside of an Ardmore home.

"We are looking at possibly he may have been under the influence," said Officer Norris.

According to court records, Chastain has history of drug-related crimes, driving under the influence, as well as, a prior conviction on first degree manslaughter -- precisely the charge he faces now.

"We do not believe he intended to cause this child's death," Assistant DA Cooper stated, "however, we do believe, because of his neglect, this child died, so he is responsible."

If convicted, Chastain would face from 20 years to life in prison. No other suspects have been linked to the child's death.