KPD: Leaving a child alone in a car is against the law

By  | 

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- It was just after 6:30 Friday morning when police said Amanda Davis pulled up to Weigel's on Merchants Drive. She left her four-month-old baby boy inside her running car while she went in to buy something.

"She heard the squealing of some tires and that got her attention. She walked outside and once she was outside, she realized that it was her car that had been stolen," said Darrell DeBusk, with the Knoxville Police Department.

Parents in the area can't believe it happened:

"It's a parent's nightmare, yeah. That's pretty bad, especially with a baby, a newborn baby," said Sequoyah Manuel, who lives in Knoxville.

Manuel said she'd never leave her young son alone in a car.

"I know I'd be devastated if something like that was to happen to my son," said Manuel.

Another parent with teenage children said it's something she did occasionally when they were little.

"Keep the car in view while I'm at the cash register and you know, constantly looking at it - I mean, that's the last thing on your mind that somebody would ever come up in a public parking lot like that and do something like that," said Alletha Pearce.

But police said leaving a child alone in a vehicle is actually against the law.

"You never know what could happen to that vehicle. Whether someone steals it, whether someone hits it - involved in a crash of some type. Or, you know, cars can catch on fire," said DeBusk.

"It is a wake-up call - because just in those five minutes, a person could think nothing like this could ever happen. Well, it can," said Pearce.

DeBusk said Davis could potentially face child endangerment or neglect charges.

Officers found Davis' car - and her son - at McDonald's on Hardin Valley Road about an hour and a half after it was stolen. They're still looking for the person driving a white Chevy Cavalier who dropped the suspect off at Weigel's, as well as the suspect himself. He's described as a white male who is about 6 feet tall wearing a gray or green hoodie and blue jeans.

Anyone with information should call police.