PHOENIX — Phoenix police say a mother was booked into jail after leaving her child in a hot car for several hours last month.
Thirty-five-year-old Cristina H. Valente was reportedly jailed on April 16, days after the incident occurred at their home near 83rd Avenue and Camelback Road.
Investigators say Valente left the 4-month-old girl in the car from about 8:30 a.m. until crews received the call for help around 1 p.m.
"Came back, closed the garage, and went inside the house," said Phoenix Police Sgt. Mercedes Fortune after the incident occurred. "She did not remember that she had the four-month-old with her."
According to police paperwork, one of Valente's other children at home was watching television and saw a baby on the show, reminding her that she hadn't seen her younger sibling in a while. At that point, she asked the mother where the baby was.
The baby was found unresponsive in her car seat and had a 104-degree temperature when she was brought to the hospital by emergency crews.
Valente reportedly told police the car windows were down but the garage door was shut. She admitted to calling her husband instead of 911 because she was scared she would lose her other children.
The child witness told officials she ran to a neighbor's house for help and the neighbor helped call the police and try to cool the baby down with wet towels.
Valente was booked into jail on a felony charge of child abuse/negligence.
The child was in critical condition at the time officials became involved. Police now say the child will need long-term care.