Employer Defends Oregon Woman Whose Child Died in Hot Car

Nicole Engler's 21-month-old daughter died after being left outside Evergreen Family Medicine in a vehicle for hours. Now Engler's employer is urging compassion for the mother.

Posted: Jun. 25, 2018 4:50 PM
Updated: Jun. 25, 2018 4:58 PM

ROSEBURG, Ore. — Last week, 38-year-old Nicole Engler was arrested after her 21-month-old daughter died in a hot vehicle parked outside of the mother's workplace. On Saturday, Engler's employer came to her defense.

Engler worked at Evergreen Family Medicine, a Roseburg clinic. Last Thursday, Engler drove to work her shift as a nurse practitioner and left her daughter Remington ("Remy") in the car until the end of that shift at 4 p.m.

According to a statement from the responding officer, Engler believed that she had dropped Remy off at a local daycare that morning. When Engler returned to the car after her shift, she found Remy in the backseat—"unconscious and blue." Engler rushed her daughter into the clinic, where medical staff performed CPR in an attempt to revive the child.

Remy was then rushed to Mercy Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead. Roseburg Police arrested Engler for Second Degree Manslaughter.

On Saturday, Dr. Tim Powell, president of Evergreen Medical Center, posted a long and contemplative Facebook post on the clinic's page.

"For a 38-year-old woman whose greatest desire was to be a mother," Dr. Powell wrote. "This only child was life's most precious gift and her heart's desire."

"The moment she looked into that back seat and saw her baby still haunts me," Powell continued. "It was the moment the walls fell down. All the way to hell. The horror of our worst nightmare magnified a thousand times coursed through her like an electric current. It has never left. It never will. That's how hell works."

On Monday, Engler's bail was reduced from an initial $50,000 to $5,000—with certain conditions. Her lawyer, David Terry, will have custody of Engler's passport for the duration of the trial. Engler is not allowed access to weapons, and is not allowed to drive.

Engler will also be on 24-hour monitoring and suicide watch by mental health professionals.

"There is that reflex need to pass judgment and separate ourselves from this horror," said Powell. "But there is no condemnation nor punishment humankind can devise that will ever surpass that which Nicole has already applied to herself. How much is enough? Is there no hope of forgiveness? No redemption from hell?"

"The road out of hell will require courage and support. The Evergreen family will stand by Nicole and her husband Peter. We will hold them tight in our prayers and do all in our power to encourage healing. We invite you to join us."

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