Mother charged with leaving 2 kids in hot car

CARY, N.C. (WTVD) -- Now in the thick of summer, it's important to remember that heat can be dangerous, even deadly.

A Wake County mother is facing charges after allegedly leaving her two kids in a hot car.

Laura Castro, 30, was scheduled to face a judge Tuesday but posted bail and left jail.

An eyewitness who found the children talked to ABC11.

Faviola Stamper is a supervisor of a painting crew that's working in Cary off Kildaire Farm Road.

Monday, her workers noticed two children in a car parked directly in the sunlight.

She called 911 immediately. As they waited for authorities to arrive, they got the kids out of the car with permission from the dispatcher.

"When we opened her doors you can literally," Stamper said, "and you can hear me say 'Whoa!' because my workers when they opened the doors they felt the heat."

Stamper said the boy was apparently in a deep sleep. The girl, however, was still listless when emergency crews arrived.

"When the paramedic came here and started massaging her little chest she wasn't responding," she said. "That's when I really got worried."

Castro was visiting one of the apartments and later said she was looking for a babysitter, according to Stamper.

Police have charged her with two counts of misdemeanor child abuse, saying she left her 1-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son in the car.

Although the windows were rolled down partially, investigators say it was still way too hot.

Stamper said she felt bad for Castro, who was distraught when she realized what she had done was unacceptable. She said the mother obviously didn't realize the seriousness of the situation.

Castro is an undocumented worker, but her only concern is what would happen to her children.

"It's a double-edged sword," Stamper said. "I didn't know what to do. I feel bad for her but her kids, it's a responsibility for anybody to take care of those children."

Authorities have filed a detainer on Castro.

Castro's children were turned over to Child Protective Services Monday, but it's not clear where they are Tuesday.

Stamper said despite her mixed emotions, she would do the same thing again.

TIPS FOR PARENTS

Here are some tips from the Highway Patrol, Governor Pat McCrory, and first lady Ann McCrory for child and pet safety during these hot summer months:

  • Never leave a child alone in a vehicle. Check to make sure all children are out of the car when you get out.

  • Teach children that cars are not places to play and lock the doors when your car is parked at home.

  • Check your backseat. Consider putting something you need like a purse or briefcase in the backseat so you remember to check when you leave the car.

  • If your routine changes, set a reminder on your cell phone to drop off your kids at school or daycare.

  • Talk to your child's school or daycare so you'll be notified if your child is not dropped off at the normal time.

  • Check vehicles and trunks first if a child goes missing.

  • If you see a child or pet left unattended in a vehicle, call 911 immediately.

  • When taking your pet to the beach, bring lots of water and a bowl. Don't let pets drink ocean water. Keep pets wet and in the shade.

  • Run less with your pets, and try to run in the mornings or evenings. Bring water for you and your pet.

  • Contact your veterinarian immediately if heatstroke is suspected. Wet the pet with cool water (not ice), keep him in air conditioning and encourage him to drink cool water (not ice).

  • Remember that during the day, temperatures in a closed car can increase 40 degrees above the outside air temperature in a few minutes. Even if it is a comfortable 60 degrees outside, a closed-car interior can reach 100 degrees on a sunny day.


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