BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – A mother is facing child endangerment charges after police said she left her 5-month-old baby in a parked car in Boardman.
Rasheda Lawrence, 24, of Youngstown, was arrested Tuesday evening.
Around 6 p.m., a woman was walking in the Walmart parking lot when she said she saw the infant in the car and told someone to call police.
The police report says security video shows Lawrence going into Walmart at 5:45 p.m., passing right by the store’s sign reminding parents not to leave children in a vehicle.
Police said the infant was left in the car for 45 minutes while Lawrence was shopping. They said the temperature was 73 degrees at the time, the windows of the car were closed, and the air conditioning was off.
There was immediate concern from police.
“When he first arrived on scene, it appeared the child was sleeping. Did appear to be breathing but if there were any indications that the child wasn’t breathing, he could’ve broken the window to get the child medical care,” said Boardman Police Det. Glenn Patton.
Boardman officers forced the locked door open to get the baby out around 6:30 p.m.
The baby was sweating and crying, according to a police report. He got some baby formula and EMT’s checked him before his grandfather took him home.
Officers arrested Lawrence while she was in the checkout line.
“A vehicle is not a babysitter. It’s also not a play area,” said Jennifer Kollar, with Mahoning County Children Services.
Children Services got a call Tuesday night about the incident. It could provide background information about Lawerence and whether this type of thing has happened before but it was also looking at the long-term situation.
“We are more concerned about assessing the family, seeing what can be done, what’s the history,” Kollar said.
Boardman police said there were no prior incidents so the law was very cut and dry — it could only lead to a misdemeanor charge.
“If there was a prior incident or the child had sustained some sort of an injury, then there are enhancement factors within the statute, yes,” Patton said.
WKBN 27 First News knocked on Lawrence’s door Wednesday for comment but no one answered.