Houston parents indicted on 36 charges in child abuse case sue over baby’s death on United flight

A Houston-area couple is suing United Airlines, saying one of their infant twins died en route to meeting her grandparents in 2019 because the airline refused to let the family buckle the babies into car seats for the 11-hour flight to Japan. The same couple has been charged in a gruesome child abuse case in New Hampshire alleging the man intentionally immersed the hand of his 3-year-old stepdaughter in boiling water.

Shogo and Sara Hanamura, who live in Harris County, are seeking $40 million in damages. They say the airline is liable for the death of their child under an international convention because it failed to heed Federal Aviation Administration regulations, failed to train its employees and failed to uphold its own policy on car seat use.

Leslie Scott, a spokesperson for the company, noted that the couple previously sued United in state court in Illinois, where United has its headquarters. That lawsuit was voluntarily dismissed by the family more than a year ago, but they can refile it.

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