North Fulton County

Police decide not to charge mom who left kid in car because of his age

ROSWELL, Ga. — Roswell Police say they won’t charge a mother after she left her child alone in a car for nearly 45 minutes.

Dan Reilly told Channel 2's Mike Petchenik he spotted the child March 17th after leaving the WalMart on Mansell Road.

“We were like what should we do? Is this against the law? This feels bad,” he said.  “We’re in a parking lot. It’s hot out.”

Reilly told Petchenik the boy was on his iPad and there was a dog in the car with him.

“Completely zoned out,” he said, adding that he went inside the store to let them know what he’d found.

“They were like this isn’t the first time it’s happened. Please go do something,” he said. “The cops are going to be here.”

Roswell Police spokeswoman Lisa Holland told Petchenik an officer arrived and spoke to the 9-year-old boy.

“He said my mom ran into the store and didn’t think the store would allow the dog to come inside so she had him stay in the car with that dog,” Holland said.


She told Petchenik officers didn’t arrest the mother at the time because nobody else was available to watch her children, so they referred the case to a detective. Friday, Holland told Petchenik a detective determined because the boy was “mature” enough and was in good shape, they decided not to charge.

“It could be a dangerous situation to leave a child unattended in the parking lot and there’s a lot of different things that could happen,” said Holland, who said the department did refer the case to the Department of Family and Children Services for review.

“My understanding is it is against the law,” said Reilly. “I’m a little disappointed, shocked. She had another kid with her. What’s to stop her from doing this again?”

Reilly said while he was on the phone with police, he noticed another car in the same lot with two smaller children in it by themselves. He said the mother arrived before police got to the location.

“This happens and it absolutely shouldn’t,” he said.