Mom arrested for leaving toddler, 18-month-old twins in hot van outside Walmart

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PETERSBURG, Va. -- A mother was handcuffed outside the Petersburg Walmart after police, fire and EMS workers responded to a 911 call that three children were locked in a car.

A bystander called 911 and was trying to get the van open. Callers described three kids soaked with sweat and in various stages of consciousness Thursday.

The children were locked in a hot van for as much as an hour while the mother shopped inside with her oldest child, age six, at the Walmart on 3500 S. Crater Road.


PHOTO: CBS 6 Reporter Wayne Covil

The children were age three and the twins were 18-months-old, the Petersbug Fire Department told CBS 6.

They had to be transported to the hospital. They were listed in stable condition at Southside Regional Medical Center before they were released into the custody of Petersburg Social Services.

The three-year-old was initially unresponsive, sources said. Shoppers say police on the scene arrested the mother.

Emily Farber

Emily Catherine Farber (SOURCE: Petersburg police)

Officials said Friday morning that 26-year-old Emily Catherine Farber was charged with  three counts of felony abuse and neglect, reckless disregard for life.

She is being held on a $2,000 secured bond and has received a court appointed lawyer.

"It's almost 100 degrees,” said Angie Hundley, a mom who lives nearby.  “You don't leave candy in your car, pets and definitely not your kids."

Dr. Beth Purdue at Southside Regional Medical Center said after three consecutive days with temperatures in the 90's, plus humidity, it's not appropriate to leave your kids in the car for any amount of time.

"Common sense is usually a good indicator,” said Perdue.  “If you'd be uncomfortable sitting in the car 10 minutes with no air conditioning, your kids probably would, too."

The family was headed to Pennsylvania from Florida, officials said.

Farber is scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 16.


  • Glen Allen

    I cannot believe that in 2014 there is any living adult that does not know this is illegal and cruel to leave a child located in a car (regardless of the temperature – worse when it is hot or cold). The article does not say if the woman is the mother to all 4 children, I hope that she is not, as all children deserve better than that.

      • Daddy's girl

        A television shouldn’t have to provide a person with COMMON SENSE. Not only are they putting them in harms way by nature but could lose them to a pervert!!! In my opinion some parents aren’t suitable to be “parents”!!!!!
        My motto is if the child/children can’t go with me; I’m not going!!!
        Thank God for the person who did get the children help!! Myself personally , I would have broken the window!!! I go crazy when a child is involved !!!

    • ShareBear

      They really do deserve better but if it turns out she was taking care of any of these kids whether she is their aunt or daycare provider doesn’t that in a way make this even worse that she’s being paid to watch them and leaves them alone in a car. It’s appalling either way. If they are all hers I hope family takes them all in to keep them together.

  • angel2

    Thank God for the bystander who chose to get involved – otherwise, the 3-yr. old may not be alive.
    I believe a law should be passed: Anyone who buys a vehicle – new or used – should have to read and sign a notarized document that (1.) explains the possibility of death when someone is left in a hot vehicle – even for a “short” time (2.) other dangers of leaving children in unattended vehicles. That way, these folks have absolutely no excuse for this (except in rare emergencies).

  • Marilou Craft

    I can not believe that there are parents out there that would ever leave their child/children in a vehicle while they are shopping. Seems to me that this is becoming a big time problem. Poor little kids.

  • JL Cilum

    What is so bad is that Wal-Mart stores now have a sign on the entrance door for people to check their cars and not leave children unattended. Guess some people who are without common sense, don’t read either!

    • athynz

      If it saves lives I’m all for it – I find it ironic you do not feel the same way about this as you do about the homemade trailers and wanting laws for those.

  • Ed Pope

    With the dumbing down of America, this will continue. We see it everywhere, adults just not making reasonable decisions. I wish this was not happening, and you would think that with the news and information on the Web that people would understand the dangers that this represents.

  • Steel Mill

    The children should be removed permanently from the home, the parent(s) rights taken away and the children placed in a family that would love and care for them.

      • Eli Thomas

        Hey Joey, maybe you have you head in the sand, but most of the first of the month club people are white. His or her statement was not racist in and of itself. But nice job projecting your own bias’ on someone else.

  • Rickenhouse

    wow another person leaving children in the car and you know the sad thing is that she had to open the door to get the six year old out so forgetting about the others is out for the excuse. It will be real interesting to see what she has to say about all of this. Thank goodness the by stander stepped in when they did bc this could have turned out in a much worse situation for this familiy.
    Even a car on a rainy day in the summer gets hot ppl dont leave children in the car . What i dont understand is the ppl who say i forgot the child / infant how can you do that do you forget that you lugged that heavy a$$ infant carseat out and hooked it in the back seat?? I just dont get it everytime one of these stories comes up on the news it infuriates me bc of the poor a$$ excuse ppl give for leaving the child. If you dont want to do your duty fully and responsibly as a parent dont have children there are pleanty of ways to prevent it.

  • BUG

    These people that do this I really can’t understand it. A 2 year day the other day died being left ACCIDENTIALLY (my foot)…… When I get in my car now when it’s really hot I think about those poor babies that has died being left. Stick her butt in a hot box for an hour or more.

  • Ed V

    Interesting how you people are so condemning and don’t even know what the reason behind this was, or even if the mother was aware how long she was away. Great for the American way of life, to find people guilty before they are tried. Whatever happened to innocent until guilty. Oops can’t say this because commonsense dictates otherwise. Common sense is only something one uses when they want place judgement on others. Wow, folks lets make new laws, really, no wonder the U.S. is dumbing down, you all don’t have commonsense to live by your own values, so then lets get the government involved rather than help this mother and other people who need it through goodwill. Wow!!! Maybe you should wonder how the mother feels, or did anyone notice the mother leaving the kids and say anything or just ignore it only to complain later. Shame, shame, shame!

    • Johnathan

      Poor mom here. She is such the victim. Those toddlers should have known better than to let mom walk away. Come on. There is absolutely no excuse on earth for this. Period.

    • lisi

      Ed v if thats how you think about this whole thing then your just as much a piece of shit as this mother she dont deserve kids she deserves to rot in jail and I can not believe her bail is only $2000 she could have killed those poor babies

      • EdV

        I am aghast at the way any of you think you are right. Do any of you know what due process is? Let the courts decide what is to happen. I am pretty sure the people who resort to name calling and derision are bullies in their own lives and think that the world revolves around them, sorry this isn’t the real world. Get yourselves educated, ‘wiseman’ and the rest of you who want to argue by putting people down and not listening. How many of you who say there is never an excuse to leave a child in a car is an actual parent, because if you are a parent you know this happens, even the best of parents know this happens-that’s reality. As for the name calling this is strategy of less educated people, who really don’t have an argument and so think yelling and namecalling will score them a win!!! Sorry again this is not reality. I suppose that all you people who assumed that the mother is guilty have never been falsely accused of anything, right? By a parent, a friend, a teacher, etc. Rhetorical to make you think, if you haven’t lived it don’t comment. Obviously if someone can be guilty of something without being heard from the proper authority, you are dysfunctional in your argument and need to learn to make a case before you present your case. Granted your emotions are getting the best of you, the mother and kids are truly suffering not you. So get over yourselves !!! And off the high horse you have created in your own mind, because it is in your own mind.

  • Johnathan

    A coworker of mine left his girlfriends 2 toddlers in a car earlier this summer. They were rescued by EMS & were ok but he was found guilty of 2 felony child neglects. Sad thing he only got probation.

  • wiseman

    Ed V have you been left in the car by your mom? That the only reason by you would make this dumb comment. You said she haven’t been proven guilty or not. Well for me when she walk away from the car and went inside walmart she became guitly.

  • Rocky Curtis

    ED V…she was guilty of being more than eye site from her kids in public…thats good enough for me..lock her up…I saw where one woman said she forgot the kid was in the back seat…people like that should not have kids r a car

  • someone who loves

    You all are right this is crazy. I am still shocked BC I love those babies and there mother. You can all sit here and say as you please. She is a very very good mother. Idk why she did this but its not like her. Ham pray for you . PleSe god let everything go good for this family.

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