Death of judge’s child a ‘tragic accident,’ kin say

HOT SPRINGS -- The family of Division 2 Garland County Circuit Judge Wade Naramore released a statement Sunday evening calling the apparent heat-related death of his 18-month-old son, Thomas, on Friday a "tragic accident."

"On behalf of the Naramore and Wright families, they would like to express heartfelt gratitude for the outpouring of love and support they have received in the wake of this tragic accident. They ask for the community's continued prayers and for respect of their privacy in the coming days," said the statement, which was released by a spokesman for the family.

Garland County Prosecuting Attorney Terri Harris said Saturday that there has been no arrest in the child's death, which was still under investigation. An autopsy is to be performed today.

Hot Springs police officers and LifeNet responded to 120 Fairoaks Place at 3:12 p.m. Friday after a 911 call reporting an unresponsive child. Efforts to save the child were unsuccessful, police said.

A preliminary investigation indicated that it may be a heat-related incident, involving the child being left in a vehicle. Law enforcement officials have neither said whether Naramore was the driver of the vehicle nor officially released the name of the victim. The statement released Sunday so far is the only official confirmation that there is a connection between the two.

Hot Springs residents have both offered up prayers and vilified Naramore on social media, with some calling for his resignation even though no charges have been filed. At least one person commenting on Facebook posted a link to the Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission, for members of the public to file an online complaint against Naramore.

Naramore was elected during a runoff with Cecilia Dyer in November. He replaced longtime Division 2 Judge Vicki S. Cook, who decided not to seek re-election last year. Division 2 hears all juvenile court cases in Garland County.

Earlier this year, Naramore gained notoriety in a custody hearing involving Michelle and Hal Stanley's children, who were removed from their home in January by the Garland County sheriff's office in response to child abuse and neglect allegations. The Stanleys regained custody of their youngest children in May.

Naramore, a Hot Springs native, was formerly a deputy prosecuting attorney in Garland County. In addition to serving as a deputy prosecutor, Naramore was a partner with the Naramore Law Firm P.A., where he practiced with his father, Ron, who died in June.

Metro on 07/27/2015

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