A Michigan woman is accused of leaving three children alone in a freezing car while she got a spa treatment, Detroit’s WXYZ-TV reports. When police arrived, the woman allegedly refused to come out and speak to them until her eyebrows were finished.
Authorities say that 23-year-old Ericka Campbell went to a spa in a private home in Warren, Michigan on Monday night, with three children, aged 9-months-old, 3-years-old, and 11-years-old, in tow. She then allegedly left them inside the car while she went inside for a spa treatment.
It was 32 degrees outside that night.
The 11-year-old would later say that she had sat in the car for an hour, not knowing what was going on, before she went to the house to try to get answers.
“She hasn’t seen or heard from [Campbell] in over an hour. They knock on the door and the homeowner says, ‘yeah, she’s here. She’s getting a spa treatment,'” Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith said.
Smith also noted how the entire situation could have made the older girl distressed.
“It says 32 degrees. 6:30 at night. It’s dark out,” he said.
Eventually, the 11-year-old called the police.
When officers arrived at the scene, they attempted to have Campbell come outside to discuss things. However, she allegedly refused to come out until her eyebrows were done.
Outside, she reportedly told police that she didn’t think she would be inside the spa very long and that she didn’t think it was necessary to bring the kids inside.
Campbell was charged with unspecified offenses and is currently out on bond. The children are in the care of their grandmother and Child Protective Services is investigating.
Every summer, stories make the news of adults leaving children in hot cars, whether intentionally or through forgetfulness. Sometimes Good Samaritans or the police turn up in time to rescue the kids, but unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out that way and several dozen children die each year in the U.S. because they were left in a hot car.
What some people might not realize, however, is that it’s equally dangerous to leave kids unattended in cars when it is cold outside. Nurse Sharon Rengers says, via Norton Children’s Hospital, that kids are more susceptible to injury from the cold than adults.
“Because of their smaller body mass, young children are more prone to heat loss and hypothermia than adults. Kids also have less fat, which can help serve as protective insulation,” she says.