PHOENIX – A father wept at a court hearing after police say he left his toddler son in a hot car during a day of heavy drinking and the boy later died.
James Koryor, 41, was taken into custody on suspicion of manslaughter and child abuse Tuesday after detectives determined he went to a liquor store with his 2-year-old, bought a bottle of gin, drank it on the way home and fell asleep inside his house.
The toddler was left behind in the car, and detectives found signs the child had struggled to get out of the vehicle before dying.
Koryor made an initial court appearance Tuesday, where a judge set a $50,000 bond and assigned the case to the public defender's office. He didn't have a lawyer at the hearing.
A sobbing Koryor told the judge he didn't have money to post bond. He struggled to keep his composure, and at one point the judge offered him a box of tissues as he sobbed. Prosecutors argued for higher bail, saying Koryor has extensive ties to Liberia, Ivory Coast and Ghana and could flee.
The judge also stressed that Koryor cannot consume any alcohol if he posts bond.
"That means you cannot have any alcohol inside any residence that you stay," the judge said. "None. It has to be immediately removed. All of this is to ensure the safety of your family and of the community, and, frankly, I'd like to ensure that you are protected from yourself."
The victim was identified as Alpha Koryor. His 5-year-old brother either got out of the vehicle by himself or was taken inside by his father, police Sgt. Trent Crump said.
Family members asked where his little brother was, and he said the child was asleep, Crump said.
"I think the assumption on their part was that he was probably in the house and he had gone to take a nap," Crump said.
The boy's mother found Alpha unconscious in the backseat of the car a couple of hours later, Crump said. The boy was taken to a hospital and died.
The death occurred as temperatures in the Phoenix area topped 90 degrees. Crump said the boy's death is a reminder to parents that they need a plan in place to ensure children are not left unattended.