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Biological parents demanding answers ahead of baby’s funeral

4-month-old dies after left in hot van 10-1-19
Posted at 9:37 PM, Oct 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-01 01:09:59-04

PHOENIX — Nearly one month after a four-month-old baby girl died, there are few answers, and no charges filed.

Samora Cousin died in the backseat of a van on October 1, according to Phoenix police. She was in the care of her foster parent, Roger Ham, who told officers he picked up the baby for an appointment and forgot to drop her off again before returning to work at the Washington Elementary School District Service Center, where he is a supervisor.

Four weeks after the tragedy, Ham has not been arrested or charged with any crimes. It is also unknown if the Ham’s have had any change to their status as foster parents.

The couple received extensive media coverage over the past decade for their role in fostering and adopting more than a dozen children. The fathers were even featured on Good Morning America in 2011, where anchor George Stephanopoulos mentioned an award they received from Child Protective Services their work fostering children.

“They're like the face of CPS,” said Jennifer Haley, Samora’s biological mother. “They are trying to make it to where he doesn't get in trouble for this. I think on Saturday it is going to hit me.”

It is the day Wesley Cousin and Jennifer Haley have been dreading.

“I’ve been thinking about that day since she passed. It's a thought that you really can't get rid of,” said Cousin, Samora’s father.

That's when the parents will lay their daughter Samora to rest.

“It’s hard to put into words. It's probably going to be one of the hardest days of my life,” said Cousin.

Police initially stated they believe heat was a factor when Samora passed away in the backseat of a van.

“That’s the hardest thing to think about,” said Haley.

The Arizona Department of Child Safety is conducting its thorough investigation, as Phoenix police look into potential criminal charges. Both organizations have been tight-lipped with updates, citing ongoing investigations.

“I had two other boys that were in the same home as Samora, and I don't know if they were taken from the home. I don't know what the charges are that they are trying to charge him with or not charge him with,” said Haley.

“They don't return messages or phone calls,” said Cousin.

The parents are increasingly frustrated as they continue to grieve.

“There’s no autopsy report,” said Cousin. “The police department has [not] reached out to us. I have been told nothing about the investigation.”

As they try to prepare for Saturday, they are reminded of the first Halloween their daughter was never able to see.

“Every holiday she's going to be on her mind, even the small ones. It’s not like this will ever go away,” said Cousin.

ABC15 tried to reach out to the Ham's for comment, but we were not able to get in touch with a couple.