GA mother arrested after leaving 17-month-old son locked in car while she gambled, deputies say

CHATTOOGA COUNTY, Ga. — Deputies arrested a Georgia woman after they say she left her toddler locked in a car alone for at least a half an hour while she played a gambling machine.

Deputies with the Chattooga County Sheriff’s Office said they got reports of an unattended child asleep in a car outside of a convenience store around 7:30 p.m. Feb. 23 in Summerville.

Severe Weather Team 2 Chief Meteorologist Glenn Burns said that temperatures would have been nearly 70 degrees outside in Summerville at the time.

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Witnesses reported that the car was locked and running but the air conditioning was turned off.

Deputies arrived at the scene and went inside to try to find the owner of the car.


Deputies located the car’s owner, Mishaela Dawn Rayls, in a secluded room at the back of the store playing on a gambling machine and eating pizza, according to the incident report.

Rayls said that the car was hers and the 17-month-old boy inside was her son. She said that she hadn’t been in the store long and had the keys with her so the car couldn’t get stolen.

Deputies took her outside, where they said she smoked and drank a fountain drink but didn’t check on her child.

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Video footage from the convenience store showed that Rayls had been in the store for more than 30 minutes and never went outside to check on her child’s welfare.

Rayls told deputies that she didn’t realize she had been in the store that long.

She was taken into custody on reckless conduct charges and taken to jail.

The Department of Children and Family services took the child into state custody.

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