Mother leaves 4-month-old infant in unlocked car while she shops

Posted at 10:37 PM, Jul 31, 2014
and last updated 2014-07-31 23:33:02-04

KENTWOOD, Mich.-- Leaving your most personal belongings in an unlocked car can be considered a risk, but leaving your 4-month-old child behind is never a good idea. That’s what landed a West Michigan mother behind bars Wednesday afternoon.

It happened in the parking lot of a Sam’s Club on 28th street in Kentwood.  The infant was left there until cries from the car caught the attention of someone walking by.

The man who found the baby in the car only waited 10 minutes until he attempted to get the crying infant out of the car. He told police he had no idea how long the baby had been in there prior. Police say it doesn't matter if you leave your baby alone for two minutes or an hour, you should never do it.

“It's never a good idea, never, to leave a child in a vehicle,” said Police Chief Thomas Hillen of Kentwood Police Department.

A concept Kentwood Police Chief Thomas Hillen says should be common sense. He says they don’t get calls like this too often, but one call like this is one too many.

“An unattended vehicle and a vehicle unlocked, anything could have happened,” he said.

It happened Wednesday around 1 p.m. in the Sam's Club parking lot along 28th street.A man walking by a car with some windows down was bothered by what he saw.

“He had walked past the car once or twice, and noticed that the child was in the backseat crying,” said Chief Hillen.

That's when the witness realized not only was the baby left in a car alone in 75 degree weather, but an unlocked car at that.

“Leaving a child unattended is a grave concern to everybody,” said Chief Hillen.

Jail records identify the mother as 27-year-old Chardonnay Henderson, who was arrested and charged with delinquency of a minor.

“She was not cooperative with officers. I think they determined she had gone in the store to do some shopping and the child was sleeping,” said Chief Hillen.

Child protective services were called to the scene, and the child was eventually released to a grandparent.

“I saw a young woman hold a baby that was screaming, and police were there blocking her car in,” said a witness Noelle Gillies.

Gillies, a mother of twins and a teacher, saw the incident play out. Noelle Gillies, a mother of twins and a  teacher, saw the incident play out, and remembers what it's like to be a first time mom.

“It's easy to do when you get busy or you want to get something done quickly,” she said.

But she says it's no excuse.

“That's your job as a mother to protect your child,” she said

Henderson's charge is a misdemeanor. She's since been bonded out of jail.

We attempted to contact her tonight, but haven't received a response as of news time.