Authorities release parents' statement in infant's death

By Al Pefley - bioemail

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX) - For the first time, we are hearing from a West Palm Beach couple, charged in the death of their baby.

The tot was left in a hot SUV in their driveway June 20.

Police and prosecutors have just released the taped statements from the couple, which they gave to police right after the incident.

A day filled with summertime fun turned into a tragedy for Richard and Brooke McDonald, and their little 3-month-old son, Gavin.

"Usually, I always take Gavin 'cause he's on my side. But I brought the food in, and I saw him go back, so I thought he grabbed Gavin," said Brooke McDonald.

They had gone to a birthday party at a water park with the baby and their other two little boys.

When they arrived home, they pulled their SUV into the driveway, and dad brought the two boys in. Mom grabbed the fast food they had just gotten at Burger King, and they all went inside.

"I brought the kids in. I went back and got the wet clothes and stuff. Again, I thought, she had already gotten him. Otherwise, I would've gotten him then," said Richard McDonald.

Neither of them realized Gavin was still in the SUV, in the back seat of the Ford Expedition in his infant car seat.

"I thought she got the baby, she thought I got the baby, and the baby was unfortunately never gotten," Richard McDonald told police outside the hospital.

Mom and dad told police they put the two boys down for a nap, and they dozed off themselves. That was about 1 in the afternoon.

Two hours later, dad woke up. The tearful mom explains what happens next. "Rick woke up and was like, 'I betcha that baby is hungry now'. And so he goes downstairs, and he wasn't in the house. He was in the car. We had forgotten him! When we were bringing all the stuff in, and we didn't notice he was there 'cause he's always so quiet," said Brooke McDonald when she was interviewed on tape by a police detective outside the hospital.

The baby had been out in their Ford Expedition for about two hours, and Richard McDonald says the tot was still breathing when he found him in the SUV and brought him in.

But it was too late when they got him to the hospital, he did not survive.

Richard and Brooke McDonald are charged with aggravated manslaughter of a child, and are due in court next month. They are free on bond.