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School Bus Driver Arrested After Death Of Special Needs Student In Empty Bus
The driver who drove the school bus a special needs student was found dead on last September in Whittier has been arrested, according to the L.A. Times.
On September 11 of last year, 19-year-old Hun Joon Lee was found dead aboard a parked school bus in a Whittier Unified School District bus parking lot. Lee was discovered alone, slumped over the bus' central aisle, and was pronounced dead shortly after police arrived at around 4:30 p.m.
Police arrested 37-year-old Armando Abel Ramirez for suspicion of dependent abuse on Wednesday, and is being held on $50,000 bail. Ramirez drove the bus the day Lee was found dead.
"I feel like we are nothing," Eun Ha Lee, the mother of 19-year-old Hun "Paul" Joon Lee, told KTLA at the time. "They killed my son. Technically, they killed my son."
Lee regularly rode the bus to the Sierra Education Center, a branch of Whittier Adult School intended to help special needs students transition out of formal education.
Hun Joon's mother said that she first became worried when her son did not arrive home, as he usually did at around, 3:30 p.m. Alarmed and wondering where her son was, she called the school district which reported her son never showed up for class that day. After alerting police, Eun Ha Lee rushed to the school.
There, she met school and bus company employees who began searching for her son, eventually finding Hun Joon Lee dead the aisle of a parked bus.
Eun Ha Lee said that only four students rode the bus that day, and that she couldn't understand how he had been left aboard. Given he never arrived at school, police believed at the time it was possible that he had been there since he was picked up in the morning.
Lee explained that her son had the mental capacity of a three-year-old child and was nonverbal, eliminating any possibility he could have called for help.
Although the L.A. County Coroner's department conducted an autopsy, the results are not public. It's worth noting, however, that September 11, 2015 was a very hot day. Weather records reflect a reported high temperature of 96 degrees in Whittier. A parked bus, baking in the sun, would have undoubtedly been hotter.