A toddler was found dead in the back seat of a hot car at his home Monday, exactly one month after the bodies of five girls were found in the trunk of a car in a nearby neighborhood.
It appears 2-year-old Dylan Robert Bjorkman died from heat exhaustion, as was the case with the five girls, West Valley Police Lt. Charles Ills-ley said."Why did he have to die?" wailed a child across the street from the home, 4141 S. 3600 West, upon hearing of Bjork-man's death.
Bjorkman was last seen around 4 p.m., Illsley said. Investigators say the boy was eating a Popsicle and playing with neighborhood children.
His body was discovered around 4:40 p.m. by his 12-year-old sister, who went to the car to retrieve corn for supper.
"We don't know how he got in or why he didn't get out," Illsley said. But the boy could have been playing in the unlocked, two-door hatchback or gotten trapped.
Of the handful of cars parked in the driveway, the boy was found in the only one left unlocked. The keys to the car were in the house.
Bjorkman, who was to celebrate his third birthday on Sept. 24, lay atop a blanket in the car's back seat. The outdoor temperature at the time was 82 degrees. Illsley said investigators are attempting to re-create the scene to estimate the temperature inside the car.
The child's father, Robert Bjorkman, 35, dashed to the vehicle to perform CPR, Illsley said. Paramedics arrived and rushed Bjorkman to Pioneer Valley Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
About a dozen family members and friends comforted each another on the home's front lawn, strewn with children's toys, a Big Wheel and training-wheeled bicycle. Other neighbors stood outside their homes in dismay while police officers consoled Bjorkman's sisters, ages 5, 10, and 12 years, with hugs, stuffed animals and juice.
"He's such a sweet little guy," said next-door neighbor Donna Hardy, whom Bjorkman and his sisters called "grandma." "He'd come running up the driveway and say, `Hi grandma!' and run back to the trampoline."
Hardy's comments came as she was comforted by husband Alden Hardy.
"They've taken such good care of these kids," Hardy said of Dylan's parents. "You couldn't find a nicer family than that. Best neighbors in the world."
Friends and neighbors arrived to comfort the family and offer help.
"This is no one's fault," said one neighbor who asked not to be identified. "This is just something that happened. God works in different ways. Maybe he needed Dylan up there."
The three remaining children were taken into the custody of the Division of Child and Family Services later Monday afternoon, Illsley said.
Two DCFS case workers were scheduled to meet with the Bjork-man family Tuesday to determine if the children would be immediately returned to the home, said DCFS deputy director Richard Anderson.
The Bjorkmans have a history with DCFS, Anderson said. The children were previously in state custody but were returned to their parents in June, he said.
The removal of the children from the home Monday was not connected to the death of their brother, however, Anderson said.
"There must have been something new (Monday) that made us realize the children could not stay in the home," he said.
West Valley police have also responded to more than a dozen calls at the Bjorkman home since 1997, Illsley said. Most of those calls were for domestic disputes and child welfare checks, Illsley said.
The scene beckons memories of last month's discovery of five little girls in the trunk of a sedan at 3635 S. 5200 West, where they apparently had been playing. Jaesha Smith, 4, Audrey Smith, 2, Ashley Richardson, 3, Alisha Richardson, 6, and McKell "Pickles" Shae Ann Hedden, 5, died of heat exhaustion. The deaths were ruled accidental.
"This just brings a whole flood of emotions from the last one," Illsley said, visibly moved.
An investigation into Monday's incident is under way, and an autopsy to determine the cause and manner of Bjorkman's death will be performed Tuesday. Meanwhile, Illsley urges parents to keep car doors locked and a watchful eye on children.
"This just emphasizes that it's not just a car trunk issue. It's a car issue. Cars are a lethal playground for kids.
"If there's a lesson to be learned here, it's don't let your kids play in or around cars. Even if you're away for a short time, keep the car locked."
Deseret News staff writer Jenifer Nii contributed to this report.