A 36-year-old Waldorf woman could face a maximum fine of $5,000 and a maximum jail sentence of five years in consequence for leaving her six-week old daughter alone in the car while she went into a nearby store.
On Tuesday, October 22nd, according to Information Officer Kristen Timko, of the Charles County Sheriff’s Office, a citizen at a local shopping mall noticed an infant in her car seat, alone in a black BMW (model year unknown). This citizen alerted employees of the nearest store who called for Sheriff’s deputies at 1:09 p.m.
The car was parked in the first row of the lot in front of T. J. Maxx; and officers were able to locate the mother within that store. Timko was not able to say how quickly the officers responded to the call or how long the mother was absent from her baby.
Officers charged the mother with reckless endangerment and confining an unattended child. They took her to the Charles County Detention Center until she could appear before a district court commissioner. The baby was unharmed. Temperatures outside reached a high of 82°F that day.
According to Timko, CCSO could not initially locate the baby’s father, so the Department of Social Services took custody of the baby.
“The father contacted the Sheriff’s Office later that evening but I’m not sure what the [Department of Social Services] protocol is so I don’t know when or if he was able to get custody of the child,” Timko told The Bay Net.
The Bay Net was not able to reach the department of Social Services in time for this article. We will update the article if further details are available.
In Maryland, Confining an Unattended Child is a misdemeanor that carries a maximum fine of $500 and a maximum jail term of 30 days. This charge involves locking/confining a child under 8 years old in a dwelling, building, enclosure or motor vehicle out of the responsible person’s sight and while the person is away. A legally acceptable babysitter must be at least 13 years old.
Reckless Endangerment is a misdemeanor that carries a maximum fine of $5,000 and a five year maximum jail term. This charge means that the conduct of the accused created a “substantial risk” of death or serious physical injury to another person.