News Release, Charles County Sheriff’s Office
On May 10 at 1:06 p.m., Charles County 911 received a call from a child indicating he and six other children were inside a car unattended and hot. The child was not sure where they were. Through GPS and other mechanisms, the call-taker was able to pinpoint the location of the vehicle to the St. Charles Towne Center and officers were directed to the scene. When officers arrived, they found seven children inside the passenger car with the windows rolled up and the car not running. The oldest child was 4-years-old and the youngest was 2-years-old.
Officers helped the children out of the vehicle and Charles County Fire/EMS provided treatment on the scene. The driver of the car, a 37-year-old woman, arrived at her vehicle about ten minutes later. Through investigation, officers were able to determine she had been inside the mall for at least twenty minutes shopping. The woman, who is the mother of two of the children and babysitting the others, was charged with confinement of children inside a motor vehicle.
Officers conferred with the Charles County State’s Attorney’s Office and additional charges are pending. The Department of Social Services responded and are assisting in this investigation. Due to the nature of the crime and to protect the victims, the name of the woman is not being released at this time.
As a reminder, it is against the law to leave a child under the age of eight unattended inside a motor vehicle if the caregiver is out of sight of the child unless a reliable person at least 13-years-old remains with the child. It is also dangerous to leave anyone, including pets, inside a motor vehicle especially as outside temperatures become warmer. The temperature inside a parked car can quickly rise to extremely high and even fatal levels in a short period of time.