WASHINGTON – A 6-year-old boy was left unattended in the parking lot of a Hanover, Md. Best Buy Tuesday, Anne Arundel County police say.
Police responded to a call from a concerned witness about the boy around 6 p.m. He was found in a van, which reportedly arrived in the parking lot at 4:29 p.m. and had its flashers on.
Officials say the van was cold to the touch and covered with snow.
The boy was able to unlock the door and exit the van.
“Could the child have opened the door and walked out into the parking lot? Yes, that could have happened, so that’s a concern, too,” says Lt. T.J. Smith of Anne Arundel County police.
Officers placed the child inside a warm police cruiser, while they tried to find the operator/owner of the vehicle via pages made over the Best Buy intercom system.
Police report the child’s mother and grandfather arrived back to the van at approximately 7:30 p.m. The child’s mother told officers the unattended child was supposed to be with the grandfather, who drove the child to the mall to pick up the child’s mother.
The child was transported to the Baltimore Washington Medical Center for a health examination. Police say he showed no signs of physical abuse, but was cold and hungry.
Child Protective Services and the Criminal Investigation Division Child Abuse Unit were contacted, and the child was released to his mother, as part of a safety plan.
The grandfather is identified as Juan Carlos Calva Diaz, 47, of Columbia, Md. He was arrested and charged with confined unattended child under 8 years old and neglect of a minor.
This was the third time this week a child was left unattended in a car. A 4-year- old girl was left for more than eight hours in a parking garage at Maryland Live! Casino on New Year’s Eve. And a 10-year-old boy and a 1-year-old girl were left in a car while their father gambled on a horse-racing video game inside Crystal City bar on Dec. 27.
For Anne Arundel, it’s the county’s second incident of the week.
“It’s sad that we have to report this for the second time this week,” says Smith.