A Texas woman was arrested after a child left in her care was found wandering alone in a parking lot.
Hannia Hernandez, a 21-year-old from Midland, was arrested and charged with child endangerment after allegedly losing track of the child, who was found near Texas State Highway Loop 250.
Around 7:15 on the morning of July 7, a man called 911 and reported finding a toddler wandering through a parking lot at Midland Village Apartments near the service road. The man said he checked on the child and looked for any apartments with open doors but could not locate the child’s residence.
When police arrived, the barefoot, diaper-clad child was sitting in the man’s vehicle, watching videos on the caller’s phone, reports NBC News.
Law enforcement stated they attempted to walk with the child to see if she could point out her apartment but were unsuccessful, and employees of the apartment building were also unable to identify the child. Officers then knocked on more apartment doors until they found the child’s caregiver, Hernandez.
Hernandez reportedly told police she did not know the child had left the apartment. She admitted she was watching the infant for a family member and had not checked on the child since she woke up as she was focused on feeding her one-month-old baby.
Officers noted that Hernandez was not “overly concerned” that the child had escaped from the house, NBC News reports.
Hernandez was arrested and booked into the Midland Detention Center, where she was later released on an unknown bond. While she was detained, the toddler and Hernandez’s two children were placed in the care of another family member, NBC reported.
Criminal child abandonment in Texas is defined as leaving a child under the age of 15 in any location without providing reasonable and necessary care, or in circumstances in which no reasonable, similarly situated adult would leave a child of that age and ability, according to Lawfinder.com.
“Simple abandonment is a state jail felony punishable by six months to two years in state jail and a fine. If there is a finding that the abandonment placed the child in imminent danger of death, bodily injury, or physical or mental impairment, it will be charged as a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison and a fine,” Findlaw.com reports.