Mother arrested for leaving toddler in hot car while she did drugs, police say

COWETA COUNTY, Ga. — Police say a mother put her 2-year-old child in danger when she left him alone in a car while she went into an apartment to get high. Investigators say she admitted to smoking pot and then pulled a bag of marijuana out of her pocket.

A neighbor in the apartment complex called 911 Friday night, worried by what they saw.

Police told Channel 2's Tom Regan they were stunned to find a car running, windows up, doors unlocked and a little boy alone and scared inside.

By the time Tristen Formby arrived at her car, Newnan police had already pulled her son from her hot car and put him in an air-conditioned patrol car -- providing him water and ice.

Regan obtained police body-camera video that shows the moment Formby returned to her car.

“Where do you live?” the officer asked Formby.

“I don't live here. My friends just live… and I was just coming to get some stuff form them. I really didn't want to get him up ‘cause I had just gotten him to sleep," Formby answered.

While the mother was gone, a neighbor saw the child alone in the car for nearly 45 minutes and called 911.


“The car is running, like I said. That's a long time for a child to be sitting in the back seat and nobody went to check or anything,” the officer is heard telling Formby on the video.

According a police report Regan obtained, the child was upset and told the officer “Mama went bye bye.”

The report said the child was “perspiring and his skin was hot to the touch."

“We tried to call you and the phone was inside (the car)," the officer told Formby.

The mother admitted to police that she was smoking marijuana in her friend’s place while her child was in the car.

She also pulled a bag of suspected pot from her pocket. She said she didn’t realize she was gone so long.

“At least 41 minutes of you not being out here. You understand the seriousness here?” the officer said to Formby.

Neighbors told Regan they're glad it didn't turn out any worse.

“Anybody could have jumped in the car, the kid could have wandered out of the car, anything,” neighbor Steven Mitchell said.

Formby has been charged with child cruelty and possession of marijuana.