The Winter Garden Police Department received a call about an unattended baby in a white car at a Winter Garden shopping center at 1:44 p.m. on Wednesday.
An officer was dispatched to the reported location and searched in white cars for 10 minutes before discovering, with the help of a concerned citizen, that the baby was actually in a 2013 dark silver Nissan.
“The caller said they (saw) a young child in a car that was turned off in a parking lot at the Winter Garden Village mall,” said Lt. Scott Allen from WGPD. "The officer responded. We were told it was a white car. When the officer got there he went from white car to white car to white car, looking, but eventually found the child in a silver car. When he found the child, the child was red and sweaty.”
The blonde baby girl was immediately taken to an air-conditioned store to help her cool down. The babysitter, Claire Tower, arrived at the vehicle as the officer was smashing in one of the windows. Tower has since been arrested and charged with child neglect.
According to the arrest report, the vehicle’s windows were not tinted, and the temperature outside at the time of the call was 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Based on the child’s condition and surveillance video, it is estimated the child was in the car for almost 30 minutes.
“As the officer broke the window, the owner of the car approached, and basically asked them at they were doing, and he kinda got the idea that she had forgotten she had the child with her," Lt. Allen said.
The babysitter was hired from an online baby-sitting service. The baby is fine and has been given back to her parents.