Warning: This story is about child loss
A Phoenix family is still heavily grieving the loss of heir 4-month old daughter after she passed away in the care of her foster father. On October 1st, Samora Cousin died after she was left in a van in Phoenix.
She was in the care of her one of her foster parents, Roger Ham. Ham had left little Samora in his van after returning to work at a school administration building. He had just picked up the baby from daycare, taken her to an appointment and neglected to drop her back off before going back to work. He found her when he was leaving work at 3:30 pm.
Samora was in the car for around three hours. Ham works as a supervisor in the Washington Elementary School District Service Center. He has not been charged with any crime and may still have other foster children in his care. It's been one month and Samora's biological parents, Jennifer Haley and Wesley Cousin, are demanding answers about the investigation into their daughter's death.
The couple has had no updates into the investigation or know Ham's current status as a foster parent. They also had their two sons with this family and they don't if their other children are still in Ham's care. Ham and his husband have been featured on Good Morning America for their role as foster parents.
They were highlighted due to an award they received from Child Protective Services for their work fostering. Hayley believes that Ham's foster parents status is protecting him. She told Phoneix's ABC15 News, " They're like the face of CPS. They are trying to make it to where he doesn't get in trouble for this."
Cousins and Haley also allege they haven't received any autopsy results or any updates from the police into the case. Though the police do think the heat was a factor in Samora's death. Samora was taken from her parents at three weeks old after drugs were found in her system. Hayley disputes this and says her drug tests have all been clean. Cousins and Hayley are her biological parents who deserve closure at this unimaginable time.
Ham's history as a foster parent may be protecting him in the same way that Hayler's status as an unfit mother is keeping her in the dark. In 2019, there have been 51 hot car deaths in the U.S so far. Parents aren't always charged in these instances and more than half the time it's determined that the parents just forgot. Caregivers who leave children who aren't theirs in hot cars resulting in death are usually charged.
Samora's funeral was this weekend. Cousin and Haley have been dreading the day. All these parents want is answers and accountability.