Toddler found safe after being taken in stolen car

Image 1 of 21

A mother reunited with her toddler Monday morning after police said someone stole the woman's car with the young child in the back seat.

Around 9:30 a.m. DeKalb County police said a white 2002 Nissan Altima was taken from a Shell gas station located at the intersection of Flat Shoals Road and Panthersville Road.

More than an hour later, a detective found the car abandoned in the parking lot of the Wayfield Supermarket on Bouldercrest Road with the child still inside.

“I couldn't breathe, like, my heart went out my chest,” said Rachel Malone, the child's mother. “I couldn't breathe, but I thank God every day. You know, I thank Him for bringing my child back [be]cause that's all that I wanted, just for my child to be safe. I didn't even care too much about the car. I just wanted my child.”

Police are searching for the person who stole the vehicle, but want this incident to serve as a reminder to parents.

“We want people to know out there do not leave your child in the vehicle unattended, period,” said Assistant DeKalb County Police Chief Edward Jones. “Take your child inside the store with you. Take your car keys inside the store with you.  It is very dangerous to the child.”

Investigators said Malone will be charged for leaving her child in the car unattended.