William James Staten and Margette Inise Staten were arrested for negligent homicide Friday in the death of two-year-old Joniah Chronister. Bond for each was set at $25,000.
Lieutenant Kevin Lewis with the Springdale P.D. said, "In this case, I very much believe that it meets the criteria of negligent homicide."
"My understanding is the great-grandparents simply just forgot the baby, and I understand that, but they still have a responsibility and accountability for that child."
Springdale Police said they received a call August 3rd of a two-year-old boy that had been left in a car at the Springdale Walmart. The Fire Department also responded.
When they arrived, they found the toddler unresponsive and without a pulse.
The boy was immediately taken to Northwest Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
Police said the boy had been taken to Walmart by his great-grandparents, but was left in the car.
They verified through the National Weather Service that the temperature outside was 102 degrees at the time they were called.
According to an affidavit, the heat index that day was 104. It also said that detectives checked the heat inside the vehicle, it read at 133 degrees.
The report gave an indication on the time the toddler was in the car, the affidavit said, "Joniah was inside the vehicle for over two hours..."
Lt. Lewis said that time helped develop the case, "I am quite certain that the time frame had something to do with it, quite certain."
The great-grandparents said they thought they had been in the store for about forty-five minutes, but after reviewing surveillance video, police determined the boy had been left in the car for two hours and five minutes.
Lt. Lewis said he hopes this incident will stick in parents minds, "You can learn from somebody else's mistake."
Friday afternoon Mr. and Mrs. Staten entered not-guilty pleas, their trial date has been set for October 12th.