Reno man, who was homeless, to likely get probation in mother’s hot car death

Edward Sibley pleaded guilty on June 6 to a reduced misdemeanor charge

A man in Reno, Nevada, will likely not serve any jail time for the death last year of his elderly mother, who he left in a hot car while he went to work because prosecutors said there was no intent to harm her.

Edward Sibley pleaded guilty on June 6 to a reduced misdemeanor charge after initially facing the charge of elderly abuse, which is a felony.

"It was tragic but tragedy doesn’t always equate to felony charges," Michelle Bays, the Washoe County District Attorney’s spokeswoman said.

Authorities say Sibley went to work July 14 and left his mother in the car. MyNews4.com reported that she was in a t-shirt and a diaper. The report, citing police, said the woman did not have a cell phone, "was unable to walk, unable to drive…and unable to seek shade from the heat and sun."

He gave his mother, whose name was not released, his car keys to turn on the air conditioner and brought her food at lunchtime. The temperature, however, hit 96 degrees that day. Two employees saw the woman unconscious in the car and called 911. 

She died at a hospital. Authorities say her core body temperature was 106.

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"That hinged on poor choices, very difficult circumstances. There was homelessness involved, there were certainly attempts to care but the bad decision really hinged on the circumstances of that day," Bays told the website. "There wasn’t proof or evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt and there really wasn’t evidence at all to prove that he had any intent to cause harm."

The Associated Press contributed to this report