A Pinellas County mother has been released from jail on a $2,000 bond after police say she left her 19-month-old daughter in the car while she shopped.
Pinellas Park police arrested and charged 35-year-old Vita Abramenkova of Clearwater with felony child neglect. She is accused of leaving the toddler locked in the running vehicle for 40 minutes with the air conditioner on low.
The incident happened Monday in the Target store parking lot on U.S. Highway 19 North. Witnesses discovered the child and alerted authorities. One witness is said to be a certified paramedic. The medic did not render any medical services.
Abramenkova reportedly told police she did not want to waken the child who was sleeping when they arrived at the store.
This is the second Pinellas County case involving a child left in a car in recent weeks.
St. Petersburg police arrested and charged 32-year-old Natasha Graver with felony child abuse. She is accused of leaving her 4-month-old daughter inside a minivan while attending a funeral.
Authorities said outdoor temperatures climbed above 80 degrees. The infant remained in the vehicle with the windows rolled up. She survived the experience, and Graver bonded out of jail earlier this month.
So far, 17 children left in cars have died from heat strokes in the United States this year.
In Florida, 61 children died from hyperthermia in vehicles between 1998 and 2012.
Since cases like these continue making headlines across the nation, a North Carolina father decided to create a video to illustrate the dangers of leaving children in hot cars. It has since gone viral.
Recent cases prompted KidsandCars.org to launch a White House petition urging the government to provide funding for research to help address this issue. The nonprofit group is dedicated to preventing injuries and deaths of children in and around motor vehicles.
In Houston, police arrested two mothers in less than a week. One mother is accused of leaving her 15-month-old son in the car while she shoplifted from a beauty supply store.
In Katy, TX, video captured shoppers smashing a window to save two children left in a vehicle during their mother’s recent hair appointment.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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