Indiana couple accused of leaving 2 children in hot car while shopping at Walmart

Hot car

LAWRENCE, Ind. — An Indiana couple is accused of leaving their children in a vehicle as temperatures soared while they went shopping at a Walmart for more than 40 minutes, authorities said.

Watson Joseph, 31, and Mirianne Pierre, 31, both of Indianapolis, were arrested on June 17 and charged with two counts of neglect of a dependent, according to Marion County online court records.

According to an arrest report, the couple allegedly left their two children alone inside a 2017 Ford Edge SUV in the parking lot of a Walmart at 10735 Pendleton Pike in Lawrence, WISH-TV reported.

The children, who were allegedly locked inside the vehicle, were discovered by a passerby at about 7 p.m. EDT, who notified police, according to the television station.

According to an arrest affidavit, police found one of the children “sweating profusely” while the other “appeared dazed,” WXIN-TV reported.

Court documents indicated that officers with the Lawrence Police Department estimated the temperature inside the SUV was more than 125 degrees when the children were found, according to the television station.

“We never want to leave our kids unattended, much less when it’s hot outside,” Indianapolis Metro Police Department Sgt. Anthony Patterson told WXIN. “The moment we shut that engine off the temperatures rise really rapidly.”

Indianapolis police did not investigate the case, but Patterson said the advent of summer means people should be aware of rising temperatures in vehicles and should not leave children unattended.

“Once those doors are shut the temperatures rise really quickly,” Patterson told the television station. “So you may feel it’s only a couple minutes, but to the person or child inside the car, that’s an eternity. It gets really hot really fast.”

Both children were placed into the custody of the Indiana Department of Child Services, WISH reported. Both did not suffer any serious injuries.

Joseph and Pierre will have their initial appearance in court on July 10, online court records show.

“Your children should not be left in a vehicle for any extended period of time regardless of the temperature just due to the fact that anything can happen to them when left unattended,” Capt. Michael Sostre of the Lawrence Police Department told WISH. “When the temperature’s hot, the internal temperature of that vehicle rises very quickly.

“Make the children your priority and your personal items secondary.”

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