Juan Parks

Juan Parks

Juan Parks was only 23 months when he died after being forgotten in the back seat of his mother’s car.

Mary and Jeff Parks had adopted both of their sons, Juan and Byron, when they were infants.  Their life seemed complete, a happy family, a beautiful home, what could go wrong?  Plenty.

On September 7, 2007, Mary Parks left 4 year old Byron home with her husband Jeff, after she spent the night attending to the little boy’s fever.  She dressed Juan and packed him up, strapped him into his car seat to take him to day care before work and she was off.  Moments after Parks began to drive to the day care, she realized Juan had fallen asleep.  That was the last time she would think of her son before he died.  This folks, is where the excuses start to pile up.  They no longer used diaper bags, so there was no reminder in the front seat – Byron was not in the back chatting away – Juan was too short to be seen in his car seat from the rear view mirror – and on and on.  What really happened is that Parks forgot about the very existence of her youngest son.  She drove past his day care straight to work, got out of the car, locked it up tight and went to work for the day – leaving Juan alone in the backseat of that car fated to die in one of the most brutal fashions I have ever seen.

So this is the part of the case that I lose control.  When Parks was done work for the day, she headed out to her car, drove to the grocery store and picked up groceries for supper.  She then headed over to the day care to pick up Juan.  She never noticed her dead son sitting in the back seat until the day care teacher told her that Juan had not been brought to school that day.

When Parks finally realized what had happened, she ran out to the car, found Juan and began screaming “Juan!  Juan!  You’ve got to wake up!”  She removed her son’s now stiff body from the car seat and ran into the day care yelling for help.  One staff member attempted to perform CPR while another called 911 – however it was clear to everyone, including Parks, that Juan had passed away HOURS earlier.  There was no hope of reviving him.

After Juan’s death, Parks faced the ramifications of being guilty of serious abuse and neglect.  She was unable to spend time alone with Byron for the next 15 months, which considering her lapse in memory, seems to be a pretty good precaution to take until the little man can save himself from his mother’s potentially fatal forgetfulness.  Parks also faced criminal charges for Juan’s death, the charges against her were all dropped.

There are a lot of people out there that want to say – Oh, well she was busy, she was tired, she was stressed out, she was distracted – and I say to them, how can you really believe that is a good enough excuse for the horrific loss of a child’s life??  These children don’t fall asleep and never wake up, they overheat, hallucinate, vomit, pull their hair out, claw at their face, and seize until their little bodies finally can take no more.  Not long after death their skin begins to slough down and rigour mortis sets in leaving their little bodies stiffened to the position they are in, strapped in their car seat.  Their deaths are brutal, horrendous and torturous.  So I am sorry of I take a hard stance when I say that the “They didn’t mean to let their child claw at their face in agony until they died, they just forgot to drop them off at day care” statement is full of shit and a completely ignorant and callous disregard for the life of a child.

There are people that will say the legal battles Parks faced after Juan’s death were punishment enough, they will look for sympathy that Parks had to worry about going to jail, that she had to pay to have a defense attorney.  They act as though Parks was the victim – NOT ONCE is there mention of justice for Juan – NOT ONCE.

Do I think Mary Parks maliciously murdered her son – NO – but do I think she needs to be held accountable for the responsibility she has in his death – YES.

Parents are not flawless, but they are also not immune.


~ by LTWH on July 31, 2014.


  1. What a story. Can’t even fathom the agony of the kid, and the emotional pain his mother felt. I think she can’t be blamed, she deserves asylum not prison.

    • Why can’t she be blamed, Daniel? She is the one that caused her child’s death, accidentally, probably, doesn’t matter, her child is dead, and it is because of her, Mary Parks.

  2. Having to pay for a defense attorney as “punishment enough”. I can’t imagine even ATTEMPTING to defend myself if I had been responsible for that happening to my tiny son. Lock me away in jail and throw away the key, please. Better yet, sentence me to death and end the torment. Any life worth living would have died in that car with my child.

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