Las Vegas Sun

September 25, 2021

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Dad refused to break window to save toddler locked in hot car, police say

Sidney Deal

metro police

Sidney Deal

As his 1-year-old daughter was trapped in a hot car Monday afternoon, the 27-year-old man rebuffed help from Metro Police officers and his brother to break the window because he couldn't afford to damage his new car. The air conditioner was on, and the girl was OK, he said.

When his partner was on the phone with an insurance company representative who offered to send a tow truck, Sidney Deal told her to hang up because he didn’t agree with the cost, according to his arrest report. 

The toddler, Sayah, was trapped in a “high heat environment” for about an hour and was dead when officers eventually smashed the window to pull her out, police said. 

Deal was subsequently booked into the Clark County Detention Center on one count of child abuse or neglect causing substantial bodily harm, jail logs show.

Deal did not attend a hearing earlier today due to a medical issue, Las Vegas Justice Court records show. He is being held on a $20,000 bond. 

Deal flagged down Metro officers patrolling near the 1700 block of H Street, near Owens Avenue, west of Martin Luther King Boulevard, at 3:33 p.m., and told them he’d accidentally locked his keys inside his running car and that his girl was inside.

An officer offered to call a locksmith, a tow truck, or to break the window, which Deal declined. Instead, he borrowed the officer’s phone to call his brother, police said.

After “several” minutes, the officers broke the window and pulled out the unconscious girl, who died at the scene, police said. It wasn’t clear how many minutes elapsed before Deal gave consent for his window to be broken.

Detectives who took over the investigation spoke to Deal’s brother, who told them about a confusing phone call from his brother, police said. Either way, the man quickly headed to Deal’s home and immediately wrapped his shirt around his hand and offered to punch out the window.

But Deal, who’d said the air conditioner was on, told him not to and to instead called their mother to have her insurance company send a locksmith, according to the arrest report. Deal said he didn’t have money to replace the window if broken.

Deal’s girlfriend said the couple had fought and she asked for him and his daughter to leave the apartment, police said.

According to Deal, he put the girl in the car, which he said was running with the air conditioner on, before he headed back to the apartment, where he continued to argue with the woman for 15 minutes, trying to persuade her to hand him his phone.

After she complied, the girlfriend said he returned to ask if she could call his insurance company because he'd locked his keys inside the car.

The woman made the call at 3:06 p.m. and spent 23 minutes on the line. She said Deal told her to hang up when he disagreed with the price quoted to send someone, a service his car didn't qualify for.

Four minutes after she hung up at 3:29 p.m., Deal flagged down the officers. By that time, the girl had been in the car for at least 42 minutes.

It wasn’t clear how long it was by the time the window was broken, but police said they believe the girl was inside the hot car for more than an hour, according to the report.

Her body had already gone into rigor mortis, police said.

Deal said the girl, who wasn’t fastened, was walking around the seats and eventually lay down on the floor, police said. He thought she’d fallen asleep.