Historic City News was informed that a 39-year old St. Johns County woman was arrested this afternoon on a charge of felony child abuse after she allegedly went shopping while leaving her infant child in her vehicle while it was not running and the windows were closed.
The suspect, who was identified as Victoria Evelyn Lane, 39 years of age, was booked into the St. Johns County Jail and was released after posting $5,000 bond according to a report from Kevin Kelshaw, Media Relations Officer.
Deputies responded to a report of a small child locked in a vehicle at the St. Augustine Premium Outlet Mall, 2700 U.S. 16, Friday at 1:45 p.m. The childâ€™s mother was attempting to cool the youngster when the deputy arrived.
The original complainant, an off-duty Marion County Deputy Sheriff, stated that he observed the suspect walking through the parking lot and that she disappeared from his view. About 25 minutes later he observed the women running towards him in a panicked state while yelling that she had left her child in her vehicle and that she was unable to locate it.
The Marion County Deputy assisted the woman and located the vehicle about 300 yards from where he first observed her.
The woman began pouring water on the childâ€™s head in an effort to cool him off. Other witnesses observed that the child appeared very red and sweaty.
Rescue personnel responded and examined the child who was determined to be hot but did not appear to be injured.
Dr. Bruce McIntosh, A Department of Children and Families representative, was contacted. McIntosh said, â€œIn the summer heat, leaving a child for any amount of time in a car that is not running amounts to serious life-threatening neglect.â€ A DCF investigator responded and took temporary custody of the child until his father could respond to the area.
The suspect told Detective David Garns that she went to the outlet mall to purchase pants for work and was shopping for 15-20 minutes before she realized she left her child unattended in the vehicle.