Mom Charged After Leaving Toddler in Sweltering Car So She Could Shop at Target

mom leaves baby in hot car
CBS Los Angeles

When a stranger was walking through a Target parking lot, she came across one thing no parent ever wants to see: a young child alone, locked in a car, on a sweltering hot day.


As a mom herself, Guadalupe Paz tried to check on the 2-year-old and called 911 when she couldn't get the door open. "We went down and looked. Got her attention," Paz told CBS News. "As a mom you want to prevent a tragedy."

toddler saved from hot car
CBS Los Angeles

While she waited for police to arrive, she tried to unsuccessfully break the glass window to free the distressed child. Pax explained that the little girl was sweating profusely when the police officers got her out of the car, and a touching photo shows an officer comforting her as her mom walked out of Target. "You could see [the mom] was very upset and mumbled something like it's none of your business," Paz said.  

According to police, it reached 104 degrees in the vehicle and the child's mom, Samor Mari, was in the store for at least 15 minutes while her daughter was left in the heat. She has since been arrested and charged with suspicion of cruelty to a child. Her girl is currently in protective services. 

mom left toddler in hot car
CBS Los Angeles

Samor reportedly left the windows cracked but that didn't keep the unattended child cool during the California heatwave. "In [the mother's] mindset, she was just going to run in and run back out of the store," Ontario Police Department Detective Melissa Ramirez told NBC News. "She realized she made a poor decision when she saw officers on the scene."

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The toddler is incredibly lucky that Paz walked by when she did, as 36 children in the United States have already died in 2017 from being left in hot cars, as reported by It only takes 15 minutes for a car's temperature to soar to 109 degrees during hot summer months, and according to Kars4Kids, a child's internal organs start shutting down when it reaches 104 degrees. 

"I just think I was in the right place at the right time and that was God," Paz said. When it comes to kids and hot cars, every minute counts and thankfully for this toddler, a complete stranger acted fast.


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