While police officers were responding to a report of two detained shoplifters, they were alerted to another incident: four children found alone in a car in the 90-degree heat, authorities said, according to the Daily Record.
Arlena Keye and Shaday Williams, both 27, were stopped last weekend after allegedly shoplifting $915 worth of merchandise from a Marshall’s in East Hanover, New Jersey, criminal complaints allege, the newspaper reported.
Meanwhile, Keye’s three children and Williams’ one child were left in the car for about an hour and a half, police allege, CBS New York reported. The windows were slightly down and the engine was off, according to the news station.
Temperatures that day reached 93 degrees, according to Accuweather.
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The kids, ages 7, 6, 5 and 11 months, weren’t harmed, CBS New York said. They’re in the custody of family members, the news station reported.
Police arrested Keye and Williams on charges of child neglect and shoplifting, New Jersey 101.5 reported.
A child can die after just one hour in a hot car parked in the sun, according to research from Arizona State University. Researchers found that even vehicles parked in the shade can be fatal for a small child.
An examination of reported child hot car deaths in the U.S. done by a professor at San Jose State University found that 42 children suffered vehicular heatstroke deaths last year, with the most deaths happening in July.