A Family Court hearing master on Wednesday refused to return the brothers of a 4-year-old boy found dead in the family’s car to their parents.
The parents, Stan and Colleen Rimer, also aren’t allowed to visit their four boys in Child Haven in the meantime, according to District Court spokesman Michael Sommermeyer.
Their four boys, ranging in age from 7 to 15, were seized Monday by Clark County’s Department of Family Services from the Rimers’ east Las Vegas home after the discovery of their youngest son dead in the family’s sport utility vehicle in the driveway.
Jason Rimer had been left in the vehicle for about 17 hours before his discovery about 8:30 a.m. Monday by one of his siblings, Las Vegas police said.
The death was the first this year involving a child in a car. The Clark County coroner’s office has not declared how the boy died.
"It’s a tragic accident. It could happen to anyone," Rimer family spokesman Michael Gonzalez said Wednesday morning outside Family Court.
Gonzalez said the home was in a state of disarray when the family came home from church about 2:30 p.m. Sunday.
The family was having carpets cleaned, and all of the beds and mattresses were propped against the walls.
He said the family members slept "campstyle" around the television that night as the youngest son remained in the family’s sport utility vehicle in the driveway.
Stan Rimer told news radio station KDWN-AM, 720 that he and his wife were sick and their older children were supposed to be looking after the younger ones after the family got home Sunday afternoon.
Jason’s five older brothers were in and out of the house the rest of the day, but nobody noticed Jason wasn’t around, Rimer said.
In addition to the four minor boys, the family has three adult children, one of whom is in Canada on a Mormon mission, Gonzalez said.
The Rimers won’t be able to see their children until Monday at the earliest, when the family meets back in court and Child Protective Services explains to the hearing master why the children were taken from the home.
The children could be released to the family after that hearing, Department of Family Services spokeswoman Christine Skorupski said.
Sommermeyer said the family’s 18-year-old daughter is allowed to visit the children in the interim.
District Attorney David Roger has not decided whether to file charges against the parents, his assistant said.
The Metropolitan Police Department is continuing to investigate the case.
Neighbors who didn’t want to give their names said Jason was in a wheelchair every time they saw him.
But Gonzalez said while Jason did have a learning and developmental disability, he never used a wheelchair and required no special needs.
"Jason’s a very playful young boy," Gonzalez said. "He looked up to all his big brothers."
Child Protective Services previously had contact with the family.
Most recently, investigators closed a case in May 2007 because allegations, which officials did not disclose, were unsubstantiated, according to the Department of Family Services.
Only one contact with the family was substantiated. That happened in 1988, according to the Department of Family Services. Officials did not say what that contact involved.
Gonzalez said the 2007 case was reported by a "disgruntled family member."
A neighbor who didn’t want to give her name said living conditions at the home "aren’t good."
On Wednesday, water in a pond in the front yard of the home was stagnant and green.
Metal filing cabinets were stacked in the driveway next to a metal security door that was off its hinges.
Blue plastic tubs were piled up two stories high on the side of the house.
"With seven kids in the house, how could you not be messy?" Gonzalez said.
Members of Rimers’ Mormon church cleaned the house Monday night, Gonzalez and neighbors said.
He said the home was now clean.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Contact reporter Lawrence Mower at email@example.com or 702-383-0440.