KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A group of strangers stepped in when they saw a child left in a hot car while the child’s mother shopped and now the mother has been charged with second-degree child endangerment, a misdemeanor.
One woman who didn’t want to be identified said she and others spotted the little girl in the car and, when they couldn’t tell if the child was sleeping or unconscious, she and others sprang into action.
A report from the Kansas City, MO, Police Department said officers were called to the Game Stop at about 7 p.m. Monday.
When they got to the area, police were called to the nearby Chipotle where they were told people were fighting.
Tiquana S. Pasco, 29, was found yelling near the front door that someone had her daughter, but police say she was belligerent and didn’t follow their orders.
A family said it began when they walked out of Chipotle and found a young child sitting in a car alone in her car seat.
The car was not running and the windows were partly down. A couple of witnesses began looking for the child’s parent and one of them called police. They said they could see the 20-month-old girl sweating a lot inside.
“She opened the door and pulled the child out because she was awake with just sweat pouring down her face,” Jeremy Welch said.
Welch has a family of his own and his wife runs a daycare. They knew the child needed help.
“The other woman got a bottle of water and was giving her some water and we were just holding her,” he said.
Finally, a witness opened the unlocked door and took the child out of the car and a couple of them went to take the child into the air conditioning at Chipotle to cool off. It was then that witnesses told police that the girl’s mother, later identified as Pasco, came out of the Game Stop store and began shouting that they were taking her daughter.
“Suddenly this young woman comes out of the Game Stop and starts demanding who took her child out of her car,” Welch said.
“When she came out of the Game Stop her first words were ‘who took my baby?’ She was more incredulous that someone opened her door than the welfare of her child,” the woman who didn’t want to be identified said.
The officer’s report said that the witnesses told Pasco to calm down and that they had called police, but she responded that they should give her daughter back to her so they can leave. Witnesses then said that Pasco approached them and tried to pull the little girl from their arms.
“She kept yanking on the child’s arm to get her back. At that point the child was starting to cry and she got sick, vomiting at least three times,” the woman said.
When the witnesses walked back into Chipotle, they said Pasco followed them and pushed and hit Welch who got between her and the woman holding her little girl, demanding that they return her. Pasco also punched Welch and tore his shirt.
“She just grabbed my shirt and yanked it and I told her, ‘ma’am, I am going to restrain you now,’” he said.
The scuffle went on for minutes.
“(She said) give me my baby, I’m going, give me my baby,” Welch said.
Other people jumped in and got between Pasco and Welch and held the mother to the ground until police arrived.
“I wouldn’t change my actions, not one bit. Do I wish that somebody else would have taken charge of it before me so that I didn’t have to get involved, maybe,” Welch said.
A female witness said that during the disturbance the child threw up on herself and the woman holding her. The woman holding her took the child to the restroom to get cleaned up and said, once inside, the little girl vomited again.
“As I escorted her out of the restaurant, she (the mother) said that she left her (the child) in the car since she was asleep,” police wrote in their report.
The police report said they checked the thermometer in their patrol car when they got the call and it read 89 degrees.
“Sadly, we know all too well that leaving a child in a car can have tragic consequences. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, when the outside temperature is just 83 degrees, the temperature inside a car can reach 109 degrees in 15 minutes, even with the window rolled down two inches,” Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd said in a written release.
The little girl was checked out by EMS at the scene and released to a godparent.
“The family was appreciative that I had the child instead of someone else who could have taken her. The car doors were unlocked and she was gone for at least 10 minutes,” said the woman who didn’t want to be identified.
She went on to say that she doesn’t think Pasco is a bad mother, just one who made a poor decision and used bad judgment, judgment that could have led to something serious happening to her child.
The mother was taken to headquarter’s detention and booked on an investigative hold. If convicted of child endangerment, Pasco faces up to a year in jail. She is currently being held in lieu of a $1,500 cash or surety bond.
Welch said he is also filing charges against Pasco.