GARDEN CITY, Kansas – It started Sunday when police say a mother and father left their 6-month old son in the car in this parking lot for half an hour with a window cracked.
The baby was okay, and they weren’t arrested.
That sparked public outrage in the form of an online petition asking the county attorney to press charges.
“Well, I personally was just upset. I don’t know how you can forget a baby, but yeah, everyone was upset, because it’s wrong, and it isn’t safe,” said Barb Combs, signed the petition.
The mother and father said they forgot the baby was in the car, and Captain Randy Ralston says because the parents didn’t pose an immediate threat to the child, they didn’t have probable cause to press charges right away.
“We wanna do the best job we can, because we want to make the best case we can, and unfortunately, that does take time,” said Captain Randy Ralston, Garden City Police Department.
After the investigation was complete, the county attorney did charge the parents based on information gathered by police.
“We’re bound to do that. We can’t let public opinion sway what’s right and what’s lawful, or unlawful,” said Susan Richmeier, Finney County Attorney.
Then on Monday, a mother left her one year old son in the car outside of Walgreens thinking auto start would keep the air conditioning running, but it shut off after she went inside.
Because she intentionally left the child alone, police say there was probable cause to arrest her on site.
There’s actually no law in Kansas saying you can’t leave your child in a hot car, but these parents were charged with child endangerment, because the temperature in the car could potentially become deadly, they’re putting their child at risk.
Ralston says these types of cases aren’t new, but because the public is more aware of the issue, people are taking the dangers more seriously.