Northeast Tarrant

North Richland Hills grandfather gets probation in death of child left in car

James Hollingsworth, 59, of North Richland Hills.
James Hollingsworth, 59, of North Richland Hills. Courtesy

A North Richland Hills grandfather has been sentenced to five years’ probation for leaving his young granddaughter for almost eight hours in a car where she died of heatstroke.

James Hollingsworth, 59, pleaded guilty last week to a charge of injury to a child/negligence and under an agreement with prosecutors received probation with deferred adjudication. If he successfully completes the terms of probation, the conviction will be removed from the record. If he violates any terms, he could be sent to jail.

One of the terms is that he is not allowed to care for children.

He could have been sent to prison for up to two years.

On April 22, 2014, Hollingsworth was supposed to drop off 20-month-old Aurora Aryana Hollingsworth at a child-care center about 7:30 a.m. But he “forgot her in the car,” according to an arrest warrant affidavit filed by a North Richland Hills police investigator.

“This is a disabled veteran who had several things on his mind that day and just forgot,” Lex Johnston of Hurst, Hollingsworth’s attorney, said Tuesday.

“It’s still a tragedy, but he called for help immediately when he found out what had happened. He didn’t try to cover it up.”

Johnston said Hollingsworth’s daughter and four children were living with him, and he took the daughter to work, paid for child care and drove the grandchildren to day care or school.

That day, he didn’t realize he had left Aurora in her car seat until about 3:15 p.m. when he picked up a grandson at school. The boy told Hollingsworth that something was wrong with Aurora, according to the affidavit. Hollingsworth immediately stopped the car, pulled Aurora out and poured water on her to cool her off. Hollingsworth called 911 and was still trying to cool her off when paramedics arrived, investigators said.

“This has broken up the family,” Johnston said.

Aurora’s siblings, ages 6, 8 and 11, are with the mother, who has left the area, a Child Protective Services spokeswoman said Tuesday. The family had no history with CPS, she said.

This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.

Domingo Ramirez Jr., 817-390-7763

Twitter: @mingoramirezjr