Police arrested a Florida man for felony child neglect on Thanksgiving after his baby was allegedly found alone outside of Best Buy.
A passing shopper noticed the two-month-old boy by himself asleep in the back seat of a car, and he told an off-duty Florida Highway Patrol officer working a security detail at the Waterford Lakes shopping center what he saw.
Trooper Edy Rivera went into Best Buy — which was opening for pre-Black Friday shopping at 6 pm on Thanksgiving evening — and made an announcement over the PA system that he was trying to locate the parents of the baby/vehicle owner. According to some other media accounts about this incident, he made the announcement to the line of bargain-hunters waiting on line outside to get in to the store. When no one came forward after about 10 minutes, the trooper broke the window of the vehicle to get the baby out.
Paramedics were called to the scene because “the infant appeared lethargic,” but the newborn child fortunately did not need to be hospitalized and was unharmed. Officials with the Florida Department of Children and Families were also called to the scene.
The baby’s father, 34, showed up a few minutes later at the car and identified himself. “When the trooper asked why the infant was left alone in the car, [the father] said that he thought his wife had the child. Troopers said the wife was standing in line at a business in the Waterford Lakes Town Center.”
The baby’s father was booked in the Orange County Jail on the felony child neglect charge. He bonded out the following morning. No charges were filed against the baby’s mother.
In Florida, a suspect convicted of felony child neglect could face up to five years in prison and/or a term of probation and monetary fines of up to $5,000.