On August 23, witnesses in the parking lot of Valleyfair Amusement Park reported seeing the child climb into the trunk of the car before the car drove off. By the time police had caught up with Susan Marie McCarty, 38, and her Lexus, she had already dropped her nephew off, but she had admitted to police that she put him back there because she didn't want him to get water on her car's leather. She justified her actions by telling police that she left the center pass-through open allowing air conditioning to get into the trunk.
The boy's grandmother, 14-year-old sister and another child passenger were also in the vehicle, and while the grandmother was "uneasy" about him riding in the trunk, she didn't want to question the aunt's decision.
According to reports, McCarty was charged with gross-misdemeanor child endangerment, and, if convicted, could face up to a year in prison and as much as $3,000 in fines.