Ocala, FL – A young mother was arrested and charged Monday for child abuse and possession of narcotics after authorities responded to an anonymous call about an infant locked inside a car outside of an Ocala bar.
Britney Jean Rohdy, 22, is accused of leaving her one-month-old daughter inside a locked vehicle unattended while she patronized the Suite 306 Bar and Lounge. Thankfully, the infant was found alive but had been sweating out the heat inside the car for at least 45 minutes before police arrived.
Had it been during the day, the newborn would have likely not survived.
Reports indicate a concerned citizen alerted authorities after finding a baby in the backseat of a parked, locked Mercury Sable with the front passenger window partially wound down, around 1 am Monday. Police arrived on the scene around 1:17 am.
The neglectful mother was located inside the bar by officers, but made claims that she’d only been there looking for someone for about 10 minutes. The owner of the bar contradicted Rohdy’s statement, saying she’d been there since 12:30 am and had been drinking.
As officers were removing the child from the car they discovered a pill bottle containing muscle relaxers and oxycodone. Rohdy was taken into custody for neglect and possession of medications she did not have prescriptions for.
Rohdy was booked into Marion County Jail and bail was set at $10,000. The infant was taken to the hospital as a precaution, underwent an examination, and was turned over to the care of the Department of Children and Families. Later the newborn was released to Rohdy’s mother.
Infant deaths related to excessive heat exposure peak during the summer months. Therefore, people should be wary about leaving their young children or even pets inside a car for any length of time unattended – even to run a quick errand. Cracking a window does little to deter scorching temperatures which can increase significantly in a short amount of time.
While attending to numerous tasks, parents should periodically check the backseat to be sure they’ve not forgotten to remove their child from the car, as some reports have shown accidental deaths in connection to parents who forget to drop their kids off at daycare on their way to work, and inadvertently leave them sleeping in the backseat.
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