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Mother arrested after leaving child in car to take a test

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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- A mother is in jail after leaving her 2-week-old child in the back of her SUV for nearly an hour while taking a test at Virginia College, the Richmond County Sheriff's Office said.

Alicia Manigault, 20, was charged with cruelty to children in the second degree. The baby, Christopher Howard, was found in the trunk area of an SUV with a blanket over the car seat, the Sheriff's Office said. The baby was left in the SUV for 50 minutes until a security guard was told someone heard a baby crying in the parking lot off of Wylds Road, crews confirmed.

The security guard found the vehicle in question, but the baby had stopped crying, crews said. Once the security guard saw the baby's hand peeking out of blanket, she called 911.

The engine was off and each window was rolled down a couple of inches, the Sheriff's Office said. A deputy at the scene climbed through the sunroof, unlocked the doors and took the child out of the vehicle.

The child was taken to GRU for "heat-related medical issues" and is stable, the Sheriff's Office said. The child has since been released to his grandmother.

"She can make [the exam] up. She can't make up her child. If she loses her child, she can't make that up," student Harold Black said.

A crew member said the baby was soaked in sweat and the incident could have turned fatal within minutes. The Sheriff's Office believes the child was left in the SUV from 8 until 8:50 a.m.

Manigault told deputies a friend was supposed to be watching the child and only went inside for 10 minutes, a report said. Manigault said she didn't trust the friend with the vehicle, so she left the child out of direct sunlight and locked the SUV.

Manigault said she was sorry, but a report said the responding deputy didn't see any sign of remorse until she was put into custody.

"I just couldn't see something being that much more important than your child. Especially a two-week-old. You'd think that is pretty special," Shawn Gevedon, a worker in the parking lot, said.

The Department of Children and Family Services launched its own investigation, the Sheriff's Office said. A deputy recorded the temperature at the time was 78 degrees or 88 degrees "actual feel" with 79 percent humidity.

 

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