Mom left 3 children in minivan in 86-degree temps – Hometownlife.com

A 41-year-old Plymouth mother is accused of leaving three of her seven children in a minivan in sweltering heat while she shopped inside the Canton Meijer store, police say.

The mother, now facing a misdemeanor child neglect charge, told police she had been in the store for 45 minutes about 3 p.m. Aug 3, while the children were in the minivan in 86-degree weather.

It was the latest of at three incidents this summer during which a mother has been accused of leaving children in a vehicle in Canton — a decision police say is potentially life-threatening.

“Your poor choice could lead to death,” Canton police Lt. Michael Steckel said.

In the latest incident, a witness phoned police after she saw the three boys in a locked Toyota Sienna, with the windows slightly rolled down and the ignition shut off with no air conditioning. Police found the children — ages 2, 5 and 11 — “tired and sweating profusely,” according to a police report.

The youngest child’s T-shirt was soaked with sweat, the report said.

An officer managed to unlock the minivan, remove the boys and put them in an air conditioned police car. The mother’s other four children — 13, 9 and 7 years old and the youngest just 8 months old — had accompanied the mother into the store, police said.

The mother told police she left the 2-year-old behind because he was sleeping. She said her 11-year-old son volunteered to watch the toddler and the 5-year-old who, according to the report, wanted to stay in the minivan to play video games.

The mother said she left the minivan’s keys with the 11-year-old so he could turn on the air conditioning if the children became hot. She told police she is a professor who teaches online courses for Columbia College in Missouri. She said her husband is a bio-medical researcher at the University of Michigan.

Police issued a citation to the woman for child neglect and also contacted Child Protective Services.

Steckel said Michigan, unlike some states, has laws against leaving children alone in vehicles. Regardless, he said, parents should realize it’s dangerous to leave youngsters in cars, especially on hot summer days.

Among other similar incidents:

  • A 29-year-old Canton mother admitted to police that she left her two sons, ages 2 and 7, in a Ford Edge that was unlocked and running while she was inside a Meijer store for 30 minutes about 11:40 a.m. July 22.
  • A 37-year-old mother left her two sons, ages 4 and 5, strapped inside a hot Acura MDX for 21 minutes in 88-degree weather while she returned merchandise to the Kohl’s department store on Ford Road. The incident happened about 8 p.m. June 10. The car was not running and the front windows were slightly rolled down.

Those women also were charged with child neglect.

dclem@hometownlife.com

Twitter: @CantonObserver

734-972-0919

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