Police: cellphone games distracted man whose daughter died in hot car

Father charged with manslaughter in toddler's hot car death

UPDATE: FLINT (TYLER MORNING TELEGRAPH/KYTX) - A Flint man arrested for the death of his 4-year-old daughter who died trapped in a hot car last month neglected his children by playing video games on his cell phones, Smith County Sheriff Officials stated in documents.

Russell Gene Lindstrom, 33, was arrested Wednesday on a second-degree manslaughter charge for the June 11 death of his daughter Bella Rose Lindstrom and the charge of injury to a child for neglecting his other child found in the hot vehicle on the property on County Road 1100.

Smith County Sheriff Detective Jennifer Stockwell filed the arrest affidavit with Judge Christi Kennedy's District Court and Judge Kennedy set bonds in the case at $150,000.

Det. Stockwell stated in the affidavit that Lindstrom "recklessly neglected his daughters while he played games on his cell phone, at which time, the children were able to enter the vehicle and become locked inside."

Lindstrom remains jailed this afternoon.

The father of a toddler who died in a hot car last month has been arrested. Russel Lindstrom, 33, of Flint, was taken into custody Wednesday.

Both of Lindstrom's daughters, ages 3 and 4, were found unresponsive in his pickup June 11 after climbing in and getting trapped inside. One of the children passed away at a hospital, but the other survived.

Lindstrom talked to CBS19 the day after his daughter's death and said he always locked his truck, and thought it was locked that day. But now investigators say there's more to the story than meets the eye.

"My youngest laying on the floorboard on her side in the backseat, my oldest laying in a puddle of vomit," Lindstrom said. "The doors were locked, so I had to run into the house and get the keys."

That afternoon, Lindstrom says he put his girls down for a nap, and went to do some chores and play video games.

"I saw them both wrapped up in their blankets, going to sleep," he said, "So I was like, 'Ok, I can get some chores done. I don't have to worry about my kids.'"

At some point, though, his daughters had gotten outside and into their father's parked truck -- apparently becoming locked inside in scorching temperatures.

But by the time Lindstrom realized where they were, it was too late.

"I couldn't save Bella. I couldn't save her at all," he said.

Investigators have charged him with manslaughter and injury to a child.

"There were things that we gathered through this investigation to back up the charge of manslaughter," Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith said.

Smith wouldn't say what evidence they found, but did say Lindstrom knew something like this could happen.

"He did not leave a child in a car, but he did have the knowledge apparently that the child had the habit of getting in the car," he said.

CBS19 spoke to Lindstrom's stepfather off camera after his arrest, and he said Lindstrom is a great father, and that this whole thing was just a freak accident.

He also says Zoe is back home with her mom and is doing fine.

Lindstrom is being held at the Smith County Jail on a $150,000 bond for the manslaughter charge, and a separate $50,000 bond for the charge of injury to a child.

He's expected to face a judge Thursday.


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