A foster mom was arrested for leaving a 15-month-old boy in a hot car while she shopped at a Publix store in Apopka, Florida on Thursday. As of 5 am Friday, the woman posted her bond at $1,000 and is apologizing for her mistake. Monique Williams, 31, says she only went into the store to get some milk and was gone exactly 15 minutes. According to authorities with Apopka Police Department, it was at least 20 minutes.
Police were notified by a Publix employee at about 4 pm regarding the child. When they arrived, they noticed the boy covered in sweat while inside the SUV parked at the Rock Springs Road store. Temperatures were in the 90s and the windows were rolled up, WESH 2 News reports. Apopka Police Department Capt. Danny Fernandez says:
“The kid was wet with sweat. The medic was called to check on the child.”
Fernandez further shares with Click Orlando the reaction he got from Monique Williams for leaving the boy in a hot car:
“Initially, she wasn’t very remorseful about leaving the child in there. Clearly, I wouldn’t leave my child who was sick alone in a car. Even healthy, I wouldn’t leave them alone in a car.”
Williams says the boy had an eye infection and didn’t want to take him inside the store. She insists:
“It was just a mistake I made. That’s all.”
Williams has been a foster parent with Community-Based Care of Central Florida for more than a year. She’s being charged with child neglect. The two other children in her care have been removed from her home and placed with other foster parents. Joseph Durso, a rep for the organization, said that a petition would be filed to have Williams’ license revoked, but she gave her license back and won’t reapply.
The foster mom says she’s never left a child in a vehicle alone before this incident. She cited her credentials:
“I’ve gone through classes (for) many years. I’m a mentor for foster parenting.”
Believe it or not, there’s no crime in Florida against leaving a child under the age of 6 alone in a car for less than 15 minutes, unless the car is running or their health is in danger. The reason this foster mom was arrested for leaving the boy alone in the car was because of the hot temperatures and the car was unlocked.
Seven children in Florida have died from being left in hot cars the last two years.
[Image via Kissimeefl.blogspot.com]