Cops: Mom left kids in car while she worked

Updated:

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga.,None —

A local mother is facing reckless conduct charges after police said she left her three small children in her car and went to do her job at a grocery store.

But the mother told Channel 2’s Kerry Kavanaugh that she didn’t have a choice.

"Yes, I do regret it because I know it is dangerous. But, I wasn't thinking like that. I was thinking I'm about to get in here quickly do my job and come right back out," said Dominique Doe, 24.

Doe said when she went to work on Sunday, she had to bring her three children, ages 1, 5 and 6. The single mother told Kavanaugh that she recently moved to Norcross, has no family in the area and that day, no babysitter.

Doe said she works as a retail merchandiser. Her job requires her to go to grocery stores to stock her assigned inventory. She said she can usually get in and out of a store within 15-20 minutes.

The Kroger on Herrington Road was her 10th and final stop on Sunday.

She said when she ran in, the car was running, air conditioner on, and the doors were locked.

But someone spotted the kids alone and called police.

“I just started back working for them, so I could not just call them and say, 'I don't have a babysitter,' " Doe said.

Police charged her with three counts of reckless conduct. According to the arrest warrant, the kids were alone for at least 30 minutes.

"After 16 years, it's not a new story to me," said Mary Jane Labonte, who started a nonprofit that helps single parents pay for childcare.

"These kids need help and the parent needs help and they're just doing their best to live every day," Labonte said.

Labonte said she wants people reading about Doe’s story to understand, affordable childcare is often out of reach for the working poor.

Doe said DFACS told her she makes too much to qualify for state childcare. And she said she can’t afford most daycare center costs. She usually pays a neighbor to watch the kids. But, that woman is not available on Sunday because she goes to church, Doe explained.

"If I don't work, that means I'm not putting clothes and food in their mouth. But, I’m going to be arrested because I'm trying to provide for my children?" said Doe.

Doe said tough times are getting worse. She said she spent her September rent money on bail.

She is waiting for her next court date.