Delhi boy who died of heat in Hyundai Accent had never been in a car before
Sonu, who had gone missing on Monday, was found dead inside a car later. Police say the child could have locked himself inside the vehicle and died due to the heat.delhi Updated: Jun 10, 2017 16:48 IST
Born to physically-challenged parents who struggled to make ends meet by selling vegetables, six-year-old Sonu had a fascination for vehicles. However, his parents say, he had never even stepped into a car.
Monday was the first time Sonu landed inside one, a white Hyundai Accent parked outside his home in north Delhi’s Rani Bagh. But he found himself locked inside the vehicle that was heating up by the minute. It was a baking 44 degrees Celsius outside. Police said the boy could have locked himself inside the vehicle.
During a five-hour long search for him by his family and neighbours, no one realised that the boy was trapped in a car parked right outside their doorstep. No one heard his cries either. Police suspect that the heat killed him within minutes.
“When we finally spotted him, we tried to break open the car’s windows. But the car owner promptly came out and opened the car with his key,” said Shyamveer, Sonu’s uncle.
Inside, the boy was lying across the front two seats, his head towards the driver’s seat. His legs were spread between the car’s gears. “I couldn’t bear the heat when I entered the car to bring him out. When I picked him up in my arms, his skin peeled off and stuck to the seats,” said Sonu’s aunt, Manju.
A native of UP’s Bulandshahr, Sonu lived with his parents, Mamta and Ram Gopal, and two-year-old brother, Monu, in Rani Bagh’s Sant Nagar. His mother has been polio-stricken and his father lost his entire left arm to electrocution, both in their childhood.
“I pull a cart with one hand to sell vegetable and fruit. My wife takes care of our children. I was selling vegetable near our home when Sonu suddenly went missing,” said Gopal.
It turned out that Sonu and his cousin Luv Kush were taking turns to ride a tricycle at their home when they felt thirsty. Since a pitcher placed on the roadside outside their home provides cold water in the sweltering heat, the cousins walked to it.
A CCTV camera installed at a shop nearby suggests that the boys drank water from the pitcher around 10.30 am. The boys parted ways after that and Sonu went missing. “Some uncle had offered Rs 10 to Sonu to take him away. I returned home,” said four-year-old Kush.
This claim by Kush is being cited by Sonu’s family to suspect foul play in the boy’s death. “My son was kidnapped by the car owner who took him away and burnt him to death,” alleged Sonu’s mother, adding she suspected acid was used.
Around six months ago, Sonu had used a lipstick to leave marks on a car parked outside his home. The owner that time had allegedly threatened the boy with dire consequences. “It must be that same car owner who returned to take revenge,” alleged the mother.
The police, however, have ruled out foul play saying the car owner who runs a garment business, had accidentally left his car unlocked after parking it on the roadside. “So far, this appears that the boy entered the car left accidentally unlocked, but we are probing the incident from all angles. Any complaints from the boy’s family will be looked into,” said Milind Dumbere, DCP (North-West).
What is undisputed is that it was the car owner who drew the attention of Sonu’s parents to the boy inside the car. “He has been cooperating with us in the investigation. We have seized the car,” said the DCP.