The deaths of two young boys trapped in a car trunk, weeks after the similar deaths of four New Mexico children, underscore what Greig and Janette Fennell have been pushing automakers and Congress to do for years:
Require latch releases to be installed in car trunks as standard equipment."We've got to stop this," Janette Fennell said Monday. "Until (auto manufacturers) get lawsuits and liability claims, they're not going to put in trunk releases. It's very disturbing, especially since we live in a safety-conscious society."
In 1996, the Fennells were forced into the trunk of their car at gunpoint by robbers, who left the car in a remote location. Their baby was left in his car seat outside their home.
The couple escaped when Mrs. Fennell found the cable that led to the trunk lock and guided her husband's hand to it, enabling him to pop the trunk lid. The baby was found unharmed.
"One of the officers said to me, `It never ends like this. You are so lucky,' " Mrs. Fennell said. The two began lobbying for a new law without success.
On Sunday in Greensboro, Pa., Christopher Carl Wright, 5, and his 2-year-old brother, Drew, were found dead in their parents' car trunk along with the bodies of their two puppies and the family car keys.
Allegheny County Coroner Dr. Cyril Wecht said Monday that the boys died from elevated heat and asphyxiation due to a lack of oxygen in the trunk.
On July 13, four young cousins playing in a yard in Gallup, N.M., climbed into a trunk that shut tight on them. They died of heat and asphyxiation in the sweltering heat.
Greene County Coroner Gregory Rohanna said Tuesday the trunk in which the children died had no latch, though he was unsure if that would have saved them.