A Pennsylvania woman was arrested Friday after police investigated an earlier incident where she went into a convenience store to gamble. While playing skill machines for close to an hour, the suspect left a one-year-old in a parked car unattended, police said.
Melissa L. Heyman, 36, of Lititz, Pa. was charged with endangering the welfare of a child, according to the Ephrata Police Department. The case will be prosecuted in local court.
The incident took place on Sept. 7, 2022. She parked the car in a lot at the unnamed store at about 9 am. Then, at about 9:51 am, a witness contacted police upon seeing the child in the car.
Police investigated the incident. Officers took statements from witnesses and reviewed surveillance video from nearby cameras. They determined that Heyman was in the store for about 48 minutes.
Ephrata officers also concluded Heyman did not have a clear view of the car while in the store, according to a police department statement. Police did not indicate that the child suffered injuries while in the car.
Similar incidents have taken place nationwide.
For instance, in August, a Cary, N.C. woman was charged with the alleged murder of her two daughters, ages two and three, after leaving them unattended in a hot car, WRAL, a local TV station, reported. The woman apparently spent most of the day gambling at Vegas Style Sweepstakes and Entertainment, a sweepstakes parlor in Raleigh, family members revealed.
Launice Battle, 29, was arrested at the Duke Raleigh Hospital on Aug. 28. Her daughters, Trinity Milbourne, aged two, and Amora Milbourne, age three, were pronounced dead at the hospital.
As of Friday, Battle remained in custody at the Wake County Detention Center. Her case is pending in North Carolina court.
Battle’s neighbors told WRAL she was a single mother. There were no prior records of child abuse or neglect linked to her home address, the report said.
Alone in Hot Car
Also, in another incident, in July a court ordered that a Georgia woman must not have any contact with her three children. That’s after they were found unattended in a car at Florida’s Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood.
When Icese Laporsha Simmons, 33, of Albany, Ga., appeared in Florida’s Broward County court, a judge ordered the children to be placed with the Florida Department of Children and Families.
Simmons allegedly left the children in the car for over three hours. The children range in age from four to 12. Reports show the car was parked on the casino garage’s third floor. The children were asleep in the car.
The engine was not turned on, police added. Temperatures that day in Hollywood, Fla. ranged from 82 to 91 degrees, AccuWeather reported.
A passerby notified the police about the children. For three and a half hours, Simmons played poker in the Florida casino. She now faces three counts of child neglect, WPLG, a local TV station, reported.
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