Mom charged with child neglect after 2 children found unattended in car

(Photo: FILE from The Associated Press)

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Police in Henrico have charged a mother with felony child neglect after officers found two juveniles in her car unattended on Wednesday.

When police responded to a report of a larceny at the Brookhill Azalea Shopping Center yesterday, officers found two unattended juveniles in a vehicle with one window about six inches open. The children were one and four-years-old.

“We were in the right place at the right time and able to make a difference,” explains Henrico Police Lieutenant Chris Eley.

Officers located the children’s parent, 23-year-old Brittany Shanae Jefferson, inside a business shopping at an area Food Lion. According to a store employee, Jefferson’s cart was filled with about $200 worth of groceries. It’s likely she had been shopping for more than just a few minutes.

While investigating the incident, police say citizens got involved in an argument with Jefferson over her actions and Jefferson ‘became disorderly.’

Jefferson was charged with two counts of felony child neglect. She’s also charged with disorderly conduct after police say she tried to charge a bystander who was shaming her or leaving the kids alone.

Police want people to learn from this.

“Cars in weather like this are like greenhouses they can become exceedingly hot in a short period of time,” says Lt.Eley, “And young children are more susceptible to heat illnesses than adults so its not a good idea at all to leave your kids in a car unattended.”

Police say Jefferson had a friend shopping with her at the time. He could also face charges.

Stay with 8News for more on this developing story.

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