Troubling trend: another mom leaves kids in freezing car, police say

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Dan Plutchak | January 8, 2014

ROCKFORD -- A day after a nearly identical incident in Beloit, a 24-year-old Rockford mother was arrested for leaving her two kids inside a car that wasn't running while she went into a store to shop.

Police responded Tuesday afternoon to the Rockford Wal-Mart on Riverside for a report of two children left in a vehicle that was not running. Tuesday was the second day of sub zero temperatures and bitter wind chills.

Upon arriving, officers found a 6-year-old girl and a 6-month-old boy in the vehicle, according to a Rockford Police Department news release. Rockford firefighters responded and determined both children were cold but not frostbitten or otherwise harmed. The temperature at the time was -4.

On Monday, a Beloit woman was arrested after a passerby noticed her two children, ages 18 months and 5 years old, were alone inside a car that wasn't running in the parking lot of a Beloit Wal-Mart.

In the Rockford incident, surveillance video shows the children's mother parked her vehicle in the lot at 5:46 p.m. and entered the store without the children, according to the news release.

She returns to the vehicle at 6:18 p.m. and loads groceries into the vehicle and then returned to the store where she was seen plugging her cell phone into a charger and making a call.

At 6:27 p.m. Longwood left the store and is seen walking through the parking lot. At 6:34 p.m. officers arrived and removed the children from the vehicle. At 6:37 p.m. Longwood returned to her vehicle and spoke with the officers.

The mother faces two counts of child endangerment. Both children were released to the care of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.


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