Man Charged in Death of Intellectually Disabled Man Left in Hot Car in West Covina 

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A man has been charged in connection with the death of an intellectually disabled man who was left in a hot car in West Covina last summer.

Emanuel Arellano was charged with involuntary manslaughter and elder abuse on May 31, according to the case file.

Timothy Cortinas is seen in an undated photo. (Credit: Irene Melendez)
Timothy Cortinas is seen in an undated photo. (Credit: Irene Melendez)

Timothy John Cortinas’ mother has previously filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Easterseals, San Gabriel/Pomona Valley’s Developmental Services, Holy Family Children’s Care and Arellano, who were responsible for Cortinas’ safety and transportation at the time of his death.

According to that complaint, Cortinas suffered from severe intellectual disability disorder, infantile autism, seizure disorder was “borderline non-verbal and had the mental capacity of a child.”

Instead of taking Cortinas to a housing facility in Walnut where he lived, Arellano allegedly drove to his own home in the 300 block of South Frankurt Avenue in West Covina and left Cortinas inside the car for several hours, according to the complaint.

The temperature outside on that day in August reached close to 100 degrees, the complaint stated.

A neighbor saw Cortinas in the car and alerted police. Arellano never went back to the car to check on Cortinas, according to the complaint. Around 8:05 p.m. responding paramedics tried to revive Cortinas, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Kamran Shahabi, one of the attorneys representing Cortinas’ Irene Melendez, said in a statement that the charges are “one more step toward justice for Timothy Cortinas and his family.”

“We are pleased the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department agreed with us that Arellano’s negligent care of Timothy – leaving him to slowly die in a sweltering car on an August day when the outside temperature reached 97 degrees – amounts to involuntary manslaughter and abuse of a dependent adult,” the statement reads. “Arellano deserves the maximum sentence the law allows.”

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