The father of a 17-month-old boy who died after being left in a hot car was convicted Tuesday of a misdemeanor child neglect charge stemming from the child’s death.
Aditya Gondesi, 39, of Henrico County was convicted in Goochland County Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court. Authorities said it appears that the defendant inadvertently left his son in his vehicle at a Goochland parking deck before going into work on Aug. 8.
In a deal with prosecutors, Gondesi pleaded not guilty, but he did so with a stipulation that the evidence was sufficient to convict him. Judge Deborah S. Tinsley sentenced Gondesi to five months in jail, but she suspended all five months.
“Obviously, it is a very tragic situation,” Graven Craig, Gondesi’s attorney, told the judge during the hearing.
The 17-month-old boy, Riaan Gondesi, died of hyperthermia, according to the Goochland Sheriff’s Office.
The sheriff’s office has said the child’s father apparently forgot to drop his son off at day care and went to work at the Capital One campus in the West Creek Business Park, where he arrived around 9:30 a.m. The boy was left strapped inside a 2016 Acura MDX sport utility vehicle for about three hours while the car was on an uncovered top deck of a parking garage, authorities said.
Gondesi told investigators that around noon that day, his wife called him saying their day care was asking where the boy was, according to the criminal complaint filed in the case. Gondesi told authorities he was shocked when his wife called. Video footage from Capital One showed the defendant on the phone, running out of the building toward his vehicle, the complaint says.
On the day of the incident, the reported high temperature outside reached about 90 degrees, the complaint says. The boy was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the temperature inside a vehicle can rise almost 20 degrees within the first 10 minutes of it being parked. The agency says children should never be left alone in or around vehicles for any reason.
D. Michael Caudill, the commonwealth’s attorney for Goochland, said there’s nothing else the court or his office could do to punish the defendant any more than Gondesi has already punished himself.
“It was a painful case,” Caudill said. “For these people, it will never be finished.”