Authorities are still trying to figure out what went horribly wrong on Friday when Hun-Joon "Paul" Lee, 19, was found dead on his school bus during the heat wave in Southern California.
Lee's mother reportedly became concerned when her son, a special needs student with autism, did not arrive home that afternoon. She said he was non-verbal and needs explicit instructions from adults. Local news reports also said that authorities believe Lee remained on the bus for about nine hours following the conclusion of the morning route. An employee for Pupil Transportation Cooperative reportedly found Lee that afternoon slumped over in the aisle of the Type A school bus. The temperature in Whittier on Friday was as high as 97 degrees with nearly 50 percent humidity.
The Lee family has since started a page on GoFundMe.com to help pay for funeral expenses. At this report, donations exceeded $20,200, more than twice the amount the family requested.
"On September 11, 2015, my one and only autistic brouther, Paul, was found dead in the school bus due to the school faculty members' lack of awareness of his presence," wrote sister Eiden. "Inside the bus was about 120 to 130 degrees fahrenheit and Paul was trapped in there for almost 9 hours without a single drop of water. My family is completely torn apart and heart broken, knowing what he had felt during those painful hours. We are hit so hard with this sudden tragedy."
Pupil Transportation Cooperative is a public agency formed in 1984 that buses students to seven school districts in Southeast Los Angeles County. Drivers and attendants are reportedly required to do head counts at the conclusion of routes.