Weather Authority Alert

Woman Who Left Child in Car Could Face Charges

By: Zac Schultz
By: Zac Schultz

Milwaukee: The images of young Asia Jones dying after being left in a hot van in Milwaukee last Thursday were still fresh in the minds of most people when a Madison mother locked her young daughter in a car at Westgate mall on Monday.

Firefighters were forced to break the window to get the Madison girl out of the vehicle.

"What could have been another tragedy in the same train as West Allis was really a good outcome," says Fire Department PIO Lori Wirth.

Wirth estimates the baby was probably alone for about 20 minutes.

"The baby was sweating, which is a good sign, it means they haven't worked into heat stroke, but at the same time we've got a sweating, crying child in there with no parent or guardian on the scene."

Madison Police and the District Attorney are discussing whether to charge the mother with child neglect.

Police Spokesman Mike Hanson says the decision to press charges is based on many factors.

"Did this individual knowingly and willingly leave a child unattended? We take into account where the child was unattended and for how long and various elements like the weather."

Hanson says children are left in hot cars more than you think.

"It does happen quite frequently actually."

In late 2003 a Cottage Grove woman's baby died when she was left in a car all day. And, in fact, just Monday another woman locked her keys in the car with her baby. In that case a lock smith was able to open the door.

Lori Wirth says parents need a reminder about the dangers of hot cars and kids.

"Their body is going to heat up about two or three times as fast as an adult."

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