The distraught father whose young son was left to die in his estranged wife’s red-hot car doesn’t believe the mother should go to jail for the horrifying, fatal blunder.
Five-year-old Trace Means died Monday in the blistering heat of 100F Texas after Amanda Means, 36, left him in the back of a Porsche SUV for two to three hours.
Detectives think she simply forgot that Trace was still strapped into his car seat when she entered their $1.4 million Houston home to throw a birthday party for his eight-year-old sister.
By the time Amanda realized her mistake, the bubbly, blond-haired youngster — pictured here for the first time in a series of heartbreaking family photos — had succumbed to suspected heat stroke.
The shocked mother has not been charged, although the Harris County Sheriff’s Office is still investigating.
DailyMail.com can reveal that the five-year-old Texas boy left to die in his mother’s sweltering car Monday has been identified as Trace Means, pictured above with his parents Amanda and Steve, and his older sister, 8
Steve, 48, and Amanda Means, 36, were getting divorced, and their son had spent Father’s Day with his father and before being dropped off at home just hours before the tragedy
It is believed Trace was still strapped to his seat in his mother’s Porsche SUV when she went to their $1.4 million Houston home (pictured) to throw a birthday party for his eight-year-old sister.
DailyMail.com can reveal that Trace’s parents are getting divorced and that he spent Father’s Day with his father before being dropped off at home just hours before Monday’s tragedy.
Devastated Steve Means, 48, needs answers about his son’s death, but he’s in no rush to jump to conclusions or demand that the mother be charged, according to his attorney, Gary Block.
“Steve is a stand-up guy. He’s in tears, he’s beside himself, but the last thing he wants is for Amanda to be punished criminally. She’s been through enough,” Block explained.
“He knows she’s their mother, no matter what happened, and that nothing was done on purpose. All he wants to do now is make sure his daughter is okay and everyone can start to heal.”
Houston has been hissing triple-digit temperatures for most of this week and is expected to record its hottest June on record.
It reached a high of 102F in the northeast of the city on Monday, just as Amanda was throwing a birthday party — complete with an inflatable bouncer and slide — to celebrate her daughter’s eighth birthday.
The busy mom told investigators she came home from the store with her kids and thought they both got out of the car, which was a loaner car rather than her regular Porsche.
It wasn’t until two to three hours later that she noticed the boy was missing and started looking for him, according to Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez.
An official cause of death is not yet known. But with the temperature in the car likely to have surpassed 120F, it’s almost certain that the youngster has succumbed to heatstroke that starts around 104F — and turns deadly at 107F.
Father Steve, a military veteran and director of the energy sector, filed for divorce in January after ten years of marriage and had moved out of the family home when the couple began drafting a joint custody agreement.
The father has been ‘besides himself’ since the tragic accident but is not demanding that the mother be charged, his lawyer, Gary Block, told DailyMail.com
“Mom noticed that the five-year-old was nowhere to be found and started calling him with no answer. She ran out frantically and found the five-year-old still trapped in his car seat,” Gonzalez said. FOX 26 Houston†
Gonzalez said the child had been able to free himself and climb out of his mother’s car in the past, but may have struggled with an unknown vehicle.
“The child apparently had that ability, but this is a loaner device and we don’t know if that was a factor or if the child might have been asleep and disoriented from the high temperature it is. We do not know. That will be part of the investigation,” Gonzalez added.
Father Steve, a military veteran and director of the energy sector, filed for divorce in January after ten years of marriage and moved from the five-bed marital home to a new apartment while the couple drafted a joint custody arrangement.
Bookkeeper Amanda was comforted by family this week after the accident
The divorce papers were sealed, but Block insisted there was nothing outrageous or unusual about the split — it was just two people falling out of love.
“There have never been any allegations that Amanda was an unfit mother or that there was any abuse, none of that at all,” he added.
Block said his client spent the weekend with both of his children and dropped them off with their mother on Monday before going on a business trip.
He was in the middle of the flight when his son was pronounced dead by first responders and knew nothing was wrong until he got off his plane and saw numerous missed calls.
“Steve was out of town on business and he was literally just landing in Florida when he got the call from Amanda,” Block added.
“At first he thought she was joking or being sarcastic. It took a while to realize it was real. The poor man had to get back on the plane right away and come back. All he can repeat is: what should I do now? This is my only son.
“He told me that when he dropped him off, his son said to him, ‘Daddy, you’re my best friend.’
“It’s hard to imagine anything more heartbreaking. We hope he was asleep when he died and didn’t suffer.”
Accountant Amanda was comforted by family this week and her lawyer did not call back for comment. Child Protective Services are also investigating the death of her son, according to reports.
Photos posted to social media during happier times show that Amanda and Steve adored Trace and his older sister as they enjoyed fun activities and trips to the beach.
Police said the mother was shopping for the party with the two children when they returned to the home in Harris County, and the mother and the other child exited the vehicle and entered the house, leaving the boy behind. temperatures of three degrees. three o’clock
The tragic incident was reported to the police at 2 p.m. The car was parked outside the family home on a cul-de-sac just outside Houston on a day when the temperature reached 100 degrees
A touching photo shows martial arts enthusiast Steve, who grew up with children from a previous relationship, training with his adorable young son during a kickboxing class.
Trace was the fifth child to die in the back of a hot car in Texas this year and the third child from Houston, including 10-month-old Adalyn Birdow who was abandoned by her mother in the heat of 92F last month.
Nationwide, more than 900 children have died from heatstroke in cars since 1998, including 23 by 2021, according to data from the National Highway Safety Administration.
Experts warn that cars can warm up to 20 degrees in just ten minutes, even with a window ajar.
Children and infants are especially vulnerable because their bodies warm up three to five times faster than adults. They are also less able to adapt to high temperatures.
A spokesman for the Harris County Sheriff’s Office said, “The investigation is ongoing.”