Iowa mom Stephany C. Moses has been charged with leaving her two small children in a car in single-digit temperatures while she applied for a job, KETV-TV (Omaha) is reporting. The vehicle was reportedly not running, and had the window slightly cracked.
Much of the country, including the northern part of the American Midwest, is in the grips of a devastating winter cold snap that has brought single-digit and below-zero temperatures. However, Moses was allegedly not going to let that — or the fact that she had a four-year-old and a two-year-old child to look after — stop her from interviewing for a job.
At about 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Council Bluffs police were called to a strip mall after getting a 911 call about the two children being left in a car in the parking lot. The car was unlocked, and the kids were wearing only light clothes, according to police.
Witness Jennifer Morgan, who called 911, describes what she saw.
“We were at Party City, and we happened to walk out, and we see this little boy just standing in the back seat, and the windows cracked.”
When police turned up, they quickly got the children into their own, heated squad car to warm them up. They then began searching for their mother. It didn’t take long; she emerged from the Boot Barn Store a short time later.
An Iowa woman was arrested Tuesday after police say she left her two small children alone in a car during sub-zero weather.— 1310kzrg (@1310kzrg) January 30, 2019
Stephany C. Moses, 25, of Council Bluffs, is now... https://t.co/ROr4jQjBHX
According to WLS-TV, Morgan said that she could see from the look on Moses’ face that she realized she was in trouble.
“She did look like, ‘Oh man, I really did screw up.'”
Moses was arrested on child endangerment charges, and was taken in for processing. Her kids, meanwhile, were placed into the custody of Iowa’s Department of Human Services. The children were not injured.
Lt. Darren Budd, with the Council Bluffs Police Department, says that the situation could have been much worse.
“The temperature was five degrees at that time, so approximately 15 below wind chill.”
Every summer, the news is filled with stories of children being left in hot cars, accidentally or intentionally, and many of those kids frequently die or suffer long-term damage from hyperthermia.
However, leaving kids in cold cars is also dangerous, albeit less so, statistically. In fact, the last known cold-car death involving a child in the United States was in 2016. As Romper reports, a Georgia grandmother deliberately left a 13-month-old in a car in the winter for five hours — while she partied with friends. Even though the grandmother left the heat on, and the temperature outside was a comparatively warm 53 degrees, the infant later died of hypothermia.