911 Calls Made In HS Toddler Death Still Withheld, Suit Filed Against Police

Oct 29, 2015

Judge Wade Naramore
Credit www.garlandcounty.org

It's a story that has continued developing over the past three months, when a Garland County circuit judge's son died in a hot car.

On Wednesday afternoon, Attorney and blogger Matt Campbell filed the suit in Garland County a lawsuit was filed against Hot Springs Police Chief, David Flory.

The suit claims Flory is violating the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act by not releasing the 911 recordings made the day Judge Wade Naramore's 18-month-old son Thomas died.

"It's a tragic circumstance, but that doesn't make the call somehow different, or make it different because it's a judge is involved, you know it's a public record...it should be released and they don't get to not release it just because they don't want to," said Campbell.

Included in the lawsuit is an explanation from the Hot Springs City Attorney, Brian Albright, saying while he agreed that the 911 recordings are public records he cited that the Arkansas Supreme Court has stated that an investigation that remains open and on-going is protected under FOI laws.

"That applies to internal, sort of work product of the police, documents and records that include the police's opinions about suspects and credibility of witnesses and lab reports," said Campbell. "A 911 call that came before it was ever an investigation can't be part of the investigation by definition."

Since July 24, the following has unfolded in the Naramore case:

July 27----Arkansas State Crime Lab released a preliminary autopsy that the child died of excessive heat. Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ellington is assigned as the special prosecutor to the case.

September 1----Ellington received the full medical examiner's report.

October 9----Wade and Ashley Naramore released this statement:

On July 24, 2015, we experienced a parent's worst nightmare when our son, Thomas, tragically passed away. No words can ever explain the depth of our love for him. This has taken an unimaginable toll on our family, friends, and all those who knew the pure joy of our sweet baby boy. We have learned that we are far from alone in our struggle, as diligent and loving parents from all walks of life have suffered this catastrophic loss under similar horrifying circumstances. In addition to covering the prevalence and risk factors of hot car deaths, local and state news media have reported on the pending investigation into the circumstances surrounding our son's death. We have cooperated and will continue to cooperate with law enforcement and with Mr. Scott Ellington, who has been appointed as the special prosecutor in this matter. We have also cooperated fully with Mr. David Sachar, the Executive Director of the Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission. We are trying to be as patient as possible as the investigation takes place. We ask for the public's patience with respect to that process as well. We, as much as anyone, want the matter concluded. Once it is complete and a decision has been made, regardless of the outcome, we desire to raise additional awareness by sharing our story in an effort to prevent this from happening to other children and families in the future. If even one child is saved and one family spared by the publicity generated by this horrible accident, it will make all the difference in the world. We thank you for your continued prayers and good thoughts.

For the past three months, Channel 7 News has continued to check in with Ellington, Including on Wednesday, where once again he tells Channel 7 they're waiting for additional information and when they receive it, they will make a decision.

Chief Flory said he has no comment on the suit and referred us to the city attorney who has not responded to our request for comment.

Read the suit here.