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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
News >  Spokane

Child found on lap of dead dad in van

Thomas Clouse Staff writer

A cold 2-year-old boy was found crying on his dead father’s lap Friday morning in a van parked at a store on North Division.

The death of 30-year-old Jason Hanen-Bauer, of Bozeman, puzzled Spokane Police because he had no visible signs of trauma.

An autopsy later showed that Hanen-Bauer died from bleeding inside the brain stem, police spokesman Dick Cottam said.

Employees at Burlington Coat Factory, 5830 N. Division, had seen the blue Dodge Caravan about 10 p.m. Thursday but thought it was unoccupied, Cottam said.

When they returned to work Friday morning, the van was still there with its windows down. One of the employees walked over, and could not wake Hanen-Bauer, Officer Vic Carroll said. “When we got there, we got the child wrapped up in a blanket,” he said. “Medics confirmed the (father) was dead.”

The boy was placed in the care of Child Protective Services until family members arrived, Carroll said.

Officers asked the boy what happened. “He said, ‘Daddy’s sick,’ that’s all,” Carroll said.

Carroll said Hanen-Bauer left Bozeman at 6 a.m. or 7 a.m. Thursday to visit a friend in Spokane. “Then he was off to Seattle to visit the mom and a brother,” Carroll said.

When Hanen-Bauer didn’t show up, the Spokane friend called his father in Bozeman, who notified the Idaho State Police Thursday night. That agency sent out a teletype asking area law enforcement agencies to be on the lookout.

Spokane Police officials briefed officers at 6 a.m. Friday. Three hours later, police got the call from the store employees. “If this had happened a week ago,” Cottam said, referring to colder temperatures, “that child would probably be dead.”

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