Roswell mother accused of leaving infant, 5-year-old in hot car while shopping

A woman was arrested at a Roswell Dollar Tree store on Tuesday after officers found two of her children locked inside a hot car, according to police.

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A woman was arrested at a Roswell Dollar Tree store on Tuesday after officers found two of her children locked inside a hot car, according to police.

A woman who went bargain shopping while her children waited outside in a hot car during triple-digit heat indexes Tuesday has been arrested, according to Roswell police.

Eneilu Leon Espinoza, 27, was charged with two counts of reckless conduct and two counts of first-degree cruelty to children, officials said in a news release.

Roswell police spokesman Officer Timothy Lupo said the woman left her 3-month-old and 5-year-old inside her car while she went shopping at a Dollar Tree store in the 600 block of Holcomb Bridge Road.

A witness called police around 1 p.m. after spotting the young children inside the car.

A heat advisory was in effect across North Georgia throughout much of Tuesday, a day in which afternoon heat index values rose as high as 110 degrees in some parts of metro Atlanta. The high for the day was 95 degrees intown, but the humidity levels made it feel as hot as 101.

When officers arrived, they found the kids showing early signs of heat-related illness, Lupo said. The vehicle’s engine was turned off and all of the windows were rolled up. The temperature outside at the time was 93 degrees, according to the release.

Police quickly removed the children from the sweltering vehicle, then turned their attention to Espinoza, who was still inside the store. Officers made an announcement over the store loudspeaker prompting the mother to come outside. Lupo said she told officers she was “only shopping for a few minutes.”

Police arrested the woman and took her to the Fulton County Jail.

The 3-month-old was taken to a hospital to be evaluated, while the older child was taken to the Roswell Police Department, where officers released him to the custody of his father. Officials did not release the children’s names or provide an update on their conditions.

The number of hot-car deaths involving children dropped drastically during the pandemic. But experts worry those numbers could surge as parents get back on the roads this year.

Last month, an 8-month-old girl died after being left in a car for several hours after her 20-year-old father, Davied Japez McCorry Whatley, was taken into custody at the Snellville Police Department. The Grayson man was subsequently charged with second-degree murder in his daughter’s death.

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A Cobb County couple were arrested May 28 after police said they left their young children unattended inside their Nissan Altima as they shopped at an Aldi in Smyrna.

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