MINNEAPOLIS-- Prosecutors charged the parents of a six-week-old baby with child neglect and child endangerment, after they left the boy unattended in a sweltering vehicle Tuesday.
Angel Rigoberto Garcia-Tapia, 34, and Rosa Dejesus Perez-Siguencia, 35, were both charged Thursday with two gross misdemeanor counts, each punishable by up to one year in prison, a $3,000 fine, or both.
Authorities said the baby is in foster care and is doing fine.
"We take no pleasure whatsoever in charging this case," Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said Thursday. "Parents ought to know that you don't leave your child unattended in the car."
On Tuesday, Bill Thompson and his girlfriend were leaving the CVS Pharmacy at 3655 Central Ave. NE, just before 12:30 p.m., when they heard the cries of a child coming from a car in the parking lot. They followed the cries and found the baby boy strapped in his child seat in the car's back seat. Thompson quickly called Minneapolis Police.
"We thought maybe the infant would've died or something if we wouldn't have called them," Thompson told KARE 11. "I'm glad we could save the child."
When officers arrived, they found the rear windows of the car rolled down about a foot. An officer reached inside the vehicle, unstrapped the baby from his car seat and pulled him out.
"The baby was sweating profusely and was very warm," according to the police report.
KARE 11 weather records show the heat index at the time was about 95 degrees.
But officers said it was 111 degrees inside the car, according to the criminal complaint.
When the child was taken to the hospital, he was responsive, Reinhardt said. The child was placed in protective custody.
Officers located the parents inside the store, and a review of surveillance video showed they had been inside for 20 minutes, leaving the baby unattended in the dangerously hot car.
Doug Brunette, an emergency room doctor at Hennepin County Medical Center, said it is never OK to leave someone -- especially a child -- alone in a car. It can lead to hyperthermia.
"It results in dysfunction of your brain," Brunette said. "You, for lack of a better way, cook your brain and suffer brain damage."
Brunette and Reinhardt both said rolling down the windows of a car does not help.
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