Attorney wants charges dismissed in child's hot car death

The attorney for Roseburg mother Nicole Engler asked the Douglas County District Attorney to dismiss manslaughter charges. He said just hours after the little girl's death, Engler was suicidal, begging to take her own life.

Posted: Jun 28, 2018 11:37 AM
Updated: Jun 28, 2018 6:40 PM

ROSEBURG, Ore. -- The attorney for a Roseburg mother accused of leaving her daughter in a hot car June 21 wants the charges dismissed.

Nicole Engler is facing manslaughter charges. Court documents show she was supposed to drop off her 21-month-old daughter, Remington, at daycare on her way to work, but she forgot. When Engler got off work, she found her daughter dead in the backseat.

Engler’s attorney, David Terry, said her husband typically dropped their daughter off at daycare.

In a letter, Terry said this is one of the saddest cases he’s seen in his 40-year career. He said when he went to the emergency room at Mercy Medical Center that night, he saw a lifeless little girl with her father draped over her body, weeping uncontrollably.

He said the family’s morning routine was altered that day because Engler’s husband worked the night shift, so Engler "bundled up her treasure" to take her to daycare.

Terry said Engler is a pediatric family nurse practitioner, and "her mind was already on her precious patients and the procedures, treatments, and tough calls she would have to make all shift long."

Terry said Engler left work briefly in the middle of the day and went to Dutch Bros, where she chatted with the baristas about their upcoming trip to Cabo San Lucas. When the baristas asked how her daughter was, she responded, “Having another happy play day at Cobb Street,” where she went to daycare. Her attorney said they will never know if Remington was still alive in the backseat at that moment.

Terry said at 4:30 p.m., after "a grueling day" at work, Engler walked out to her car and saw her daughter, the child she tried for 15 years to have, lifeless in the backseat. Two hours later, he said she was suicidal and pulling her hair out in clumps in a jail cell that was smeared with feces, begging to take her own life.

Terry said since Engler was released on $50,000 bail the next day, she has been surrounded by an amazing family trying to support her.

He ended the letter saying, “I need to force the District Attorney to do the right thing and dismiss this case. I beseech you to use your voices and awesome powers of persuasion in helping me to accomplish that.”

He cited a similar case in 2014, where a prosecutor in Utah fought to have charges dismissed against a woman who suffered from “lapsed memory” in the death of her child. 

Engler will be back in court Aug. 27.

The medical examiner has officially concluded that Remington's death was an accident.

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