A woman from Baker, LA faces charges after leaving a nonverbal autistic child inside of a truck in 35-degree weather for several hours while she played Bingo on Friday. According to The Advocate, it was around 4:45 p.m. when someone anonymously called the Baker police to report a truck sitting in the same spot for nearly four hours with someone inside.
WAFB notes this was the same day the Baton Rouge community experienced one of the largest snowfalls in history. When officers arrived at the scene, they discovered a child sitting inside of the truck. The officers noted the child wore nothing more than pajama pants and a t-shirt with no jacket or coat anywhere in the truck. The truck engine was not running and the temperature was recorded to be 35-degrees at the time.
Once the Baker officers gained the attention of the child in the truck, he opened the door. It was not until they asked the child where his parents were that they learned he was nonverbal. Despite not saying a word, the child pointed in the direction of the Baker Bingo Hall where 53-year-old Leslie Domengeaux was.
According to the officers, the 53-year-old woman walked out of the Bingo Hall while they were investigating. She told the police the truck belonged to her and she was currently taking care of the boy. Domengeaux also noted she had only been in the bingo hall for 20 minutes while the boy waited for her in the car. Despite the woman’s story, multiple witnesses in the area confirm the child had been sitting in the vehicle for at least two hours while the anonymous caller claimed it had been four hours.
According to Domengeaux, she did arrive at the bingo hall a little more than two hours after at 2 p.m. but left to take someone to work. She claimed to have just recently returned to the bingo hall, and had only left the child in the car for 20 minutes. The woman also told the police the child did not have any type of developmental disabilities.
The Baker police, however, learned a different story later when they talked to the child’s mother as she revealed the child was autistic. Officers booked Domengeaux at Parish Prison on multiple charges including improper supervision, child endangerment, and cruelty to juveniles. The child was safely returned to a responsible party according to multiple news sources.