WASHINGTON – Blankets were hung on the rear windows of an SUV parked at Maryland Live! Casino Tuesday, preventing anyone from easily seeing the cold, wet, hungry 4-year-old girl confined within.
Those same blankets could have helped keep the girl warm while she waited for her mother to return, hour after hour, as the temperatures dipped to 34 degrees.
The girl’s mother a 24-year-old of Owings Mills, was arrested Tuesday evening after casino security staff found the 4-year-old crying inside a GMC Terrain.
The girl had been inside the SUV alone for more than eight hours before the security officer found her and put the girl inside a security car to stay warm while they waited for police, according to an initial police report released by Anne Arundel County Police.
The report reveals new details in the case.
Security staff told police that the child was wet and had urinated on herself. Her car seat was also wet and smelled of urine, according to the report.
There was no food or drink in the SUV and the hood of the vehicle was also cold. The 4-year-old couldn’t use blankets in the SUV to keep warm because they had been placed over the back windows, which also prevented any passersby from easily seeing inside, the report says.
The 4-year-old told the security officer that she and her mother had arrived at the mall together and that her mother had said she’d be right back when she left, according to police.
Casino surveillance cameras showed the GMC entering the parking garage about 10 a.m. Security staff didn’t discover the girl until 6:30 p.m.
The girl’s mother arrived back at the parking garage more than 30 minutes after police had arrived. She asked about her teenage cousin, who was supposed to be watching the girl, the report says.
Security footage confirmed that no one else was with the mother and child. The mother declined to be interviewed by police and it was unclear where she had been all day, the police report.
The mother was arrested on charges of degree child abuse, neglect of a minor and confined unattended child under the age of 8, according to the report.
The mother was released from jail after posting $150,000 bond.
The girl was taken to a local hospital. Other than being cold and hungry, the child was in good health and no signs of physical abuse were found. She was later released to the custody of grandmother, police say.
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