Woman charged with son's death in van

July 6, 2011 at 6:42 PM

MANASSAS, Va., July 6 (UPI) -- A Virginia woman was freed on bail Wednesday after being charged with felony murder in the death of her 2-year-old son, who was left locked in a hot van.

A judge freed Karen Murphy of Bristow on a $25,000 personal recognizance bond, the News & Messenger of Manassas reported.

Murphy was indicted Tuesday on felony murder and child neglect charges, Commonwealth's Attorney Paul Ebert said.

Investigators said Ryan Murphy was left in his car seat for 7 hours on June 17. His mother allegedly drove to work and then returned home with Ryan in the van and found him dead only after her husband went to pick him up at day care.

Ebert said the charge is appropriate because of the alleged child neglect. Murphy allegedly forgot Ryan on a previous occasion but that time the day-care center called her at work to tell her the child was not there.

Defense lawyer Edward B. MacMahon Jr. said the charge is inappropriate. He said Murphy, her husband and their two daughters were devastated by Ryan's death.

"Karen Murphy is a wonderful mother and a wonderful person," MacMahon said. "She never obviously intended for her child to die."

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