COBB COUNTY, Ga. - A mother made her first appearance before a Cobb County judge Thursday evening after police said she was arrested for leaving her 16-month-old child in a car for more than two hours.
Dao Le Truc, from Smyrna, is in jail, and her child has been released from the hospital and into protective custody after being left in the car at Town Center Mall, according to police. She was charged with cruelty to a child.
Police said the mother left her child in the car while she went to work at her job.
"The windows were all rolled up and the baby was sweating profusely," said Officer Alicia Chilton, Cobb County Police Department.
Officer Chilton said security guards at the mall noticed the child at around 7 p.m. Wednesday. The vehicle was not running and the windows were rolled up. According to officials, the child's clothing was saturated in sweat when police and firefighters arrived. Authorities estimated the child had been in the car for two and half hours.
"It’s very serious. It doesn't matter what type of day it is, especially in Georgia heat," said Officer Chilton.
Police said when first responders pulled the child out of the car; she was dehydrated with a fever. According to warrants for the mother's arrest, the little girl's temperature was more than 100 degrees and her clothes were soaked with sweat. She has since been released from the hospital and is now in protective custody.
"We're very lucky it was later in the evening. Again, had mall security not located the child who knows where this could have gone," said Chilton.
Nicole Nathan lives right next door to the family in Smyrna.
"I don't understand it. I have young children and I don't understand leaving them in a hot car like that. I'm happy the security guard was able to catch her in time," said Nathan.
Authorities gave no immediate reason for the child being left in the car.
Dao Truc Le is in the Cobb County Jail with a $50,000 bond.