MERIDEN -A woman was arrested after leaving her three-year-old child in a cold car while she was in the grocery store Thursday afternoon.
The Meriden mother's mistake began to play out just after 3:30, at the Stop & Shop supermarket at the intersection of East Main and Broad streets. Police were notified around 4:15 p.m. by another customer that there was an unsupervised child in a Honda Odyssey in the parking lot.
“The little boy was crying so the citizen attempted to get him to open the vehicle so she could place the little boy in her car,” said Lieut. Sal Nesci of the Meriden Police Department. “He refused to open it.”
When they arrived they found a three-year-old boy in the car and took him out and moved him into a warm police cruiser. When they reviewed video footage from the store they determined that the vehicle entered the store about 25 minutes earlier and the driver entered the store with another young child.
“Police obtained video footage showing the Honda Odyssey entering the store parking lot at about 3:42PM,” said Nesci. “Shortly thereafter, the accused, Blanca Villagomez, was seen entering the store with her five-year-old daughter.”
Blanca Villagomez, 34, was escorted back to the vehicle with her 5-year-old and both children were taken to Midstate Medical Center for evaluation.
Villagomez, who does not have a driver’s license, told police she left her child in the car because he was sleeping and she did not want to wake him. She was charged with reckless endangerment, risk of injury to a minor, leaving a child under 12 unsupervised and operation of a motor vehicle without a license.
The risk of injury charge alone carries a minimum mandatory sentence of five years, with a maximum of 20 years.
“If there’s one message we can get out to the public it is please do not leave your children in a cold vehicles and not even your animals,” said Nesci.
Judge Philip Scarpellino released Villagomez, who had no prior police record, without bail. She was, however, required to comply with a protective order saying that she cannot harm her 3-year-old son.