A Frazier Park woman pleaded no contest Tuesday to a misdemeanor child endangerment charge after a Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station deputy found a child left in a Honda Civic outside Target on Magic Mountain Parkway.
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Maurianne Alyce Clark, 27, received a sentence of three days in jail, 15 days of community labor not involving children, a 52-week parenting class and three years of informal, or summary, probation, according to a spokesman with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
Sheriff’s Station deputies responded Sunday to a call at 4:45 p.m. from a concerned man who noticed a 9-month-old female infant sitting alone in the backseat of a car for about 30 minutes.
The witness claimed he checked on the child periodically after contacting deputies, according to a Sheriff’s Station arrest record. The child did not appear to be injured in the incident.
When the deputies arrived on scene, they found the doors unlocked and the engine running, according to Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station reports.
They checked on the status of the 9 month old baby girl, who was sleeping, while another deputy on scene asked the store’s management to put out a notification regarding the vehicle in hopes the owner would come outside.
Inside the car, a deputy found a cellphone, which, he later determined through the course of his investigation, was engaged in an active call and being used as a baby monitor.
The deputy asked the owner of the phone to return to the car, and in three to four minutes, Clark, who works in a child-care facility, returned to the scene with her boyfriend.
The deputy noted the air conditioning was on low, but the car was warm, according to the incident report.
After questioning Clark and her companion, Clark was arrested on a felony child cruelty charge for endangering her child and booked in lieu of $100,000 bail.
Several factors were evaluated by Deputy District Attorney David Jacobs, who ultimately reduced the charges to a misdemeanor, a District Attorney’s Office spokesman said.
“The child wasn’t in the car for that long, the air conditioning was left running, she left a cellphone inside the car turned on so she could hear it, and she has no prior criminal history,” said Ricardo Santiago, spokesman for the District Attorney’s Office. “Because of that, it was determined that a misdemeanor would be appropriate.”
Deputy Josh Dubin said regardless of what’s left in the car with the child, it’s always dangerous to leave an infant alone in a vehicle.
“Within minutes, your car can reach well over 100 degrees,” Dubin said. “In 10 minutes, a car can heat up at least 20 degrees fahrenheit, and cracking a window does little to keep a car cool.”
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Source: Santa Clarita News