A Michigan woman was arrested on Thanksgiving after authorities say she left her three-year-old alone in the car while she shopped.
Police said Shawntell Barlow backed into a parking spot that was 15 spaces from the front of the store. The Battle Creek mother said when she left to go inside, her daughter was not alone.
Lights on and radio turned up, several shoppers noticed the car that was left running and locked with a toddler asleep in the back seat. They called police.
“We went out and checked, felt the windows and we could pretty much feel that the heater was on inside. The child was unresponsive, we knocked on the window a couple times,” said Lt. Ken Cunningham with the Emmett Township Department of Public Safety.
Barlow said her daughter fell asleep on the way to the store, so she called a friend who was in another car in the shopping center to keep an eye on the three-year-old.
"Never, never. I wouldn't leave a baby in a car long enough to walk around the other side door to get the child out,” Cunningham said.
Cunningham said Emmett Township Public Safety officers broke in to the car to get the child out unharmed.
"Just talking to the baby and it was smiling and happy,” Cunningham said.
Police said about 30 minutes later, Barlow returned to the car with a shopping cart full of what looked like Christmas gifts.
“Bags in hand, pushing a cart wondering what's going on with all the police officers around her car,” Cunningham said.
According to police, store security cameras show Barlow was inside the Walmart for an hour.
"Please don't do that ever, don't leave your child in the car with it running like that just to run in. There are too many things that go on. Somebody could just break a window, take your child and leave,” Cunningham said.
The 41-year-old mother was arrested but has yet to be charged. She could face a misdemeanor count of child abuse for leaving a child unattended.
Child Protective Services left the child in the care of Barlow’s parents.
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