Hot car baby death bound over to grand jury

Doctors say Kiara McCullough's temperature was 106.1 degrees when she died. (Image: Daniel Evans) 

The man charged in his baby daughter's death appeared in court Tuesday. After witness testimony, a judge bound the case over the the grand jury. Police say Travis McCullough left his three children in a car while he worked at the Buffalo Shack on Tunnel Blvd. in July. The youngest child, 11-month-old Kiara, died.

In testimony Tuesday, Hamilton County's Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Steven Cogswell testified that Kiara died of hypothermia from being left in a hot car.

"At the time EMS arrived, an armpit temperature was 106.1 degrees," said Dr. Steven Cogswell. "Core temperature would be expected to be at least one, possibly two degrees higher."

A police officer testified about what McCullough said in the back of the patrol car after his arrest.

"He started yelling, didn't nobody want to help me," said Investigator Cameka Bruce with the Chattanooga Police Department. "He said, "I had all three of my kids." And he kept saying he was gonna to make them pay because nobody wanted to help him out."

McCullough remained stone faced in court today, different than the demeanor described on the day his baby died.

"He said he didn't have the air conditioner on," said Bruce. "And he was just ranting."

One of the witnesses today was a friend of McCullough's. He said McCullough dropped his two other kids off with him after the incident, and didn't mention what happened to Kiara. The witness said the children looked like they'd been playing outside so he gave them a few glasses of water.

Kiara's mother Jessica Tollett faces a charge of attempted aggravated child abuse for the condition of the family's home, and for the physical state of the couple's other children. That was bound over to the grand jury back in July. The Hamilton County Sheriff's Office says Tollett is in the Silverdale Detention Center. Tollett will be in court at the end of the month for those charges.

Related Stories:

Death Investigation Underway After Baby Found Dead on Tunnel Blvd

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