A Belle man was arrested Wednesday morning after police say he left a 4-month-old child in the back seat of a vehicle for more than 15 minutes as he shopped in a pharmacy.
Joshua Hancock, 29, of Belle, was arrested by state troopers and charged with child neglect causing serious risk of injury. Sgt. Larry O’Bryan with the Quincy detachment of the West Virginia State Police said Hancock’s daughter had just turned 4 months old Wednesday.
O’Bryan said an employee of the Rite-Aid pharmacy at 2700 E. DuPont Ave. called about 10 a.m. Wednesday to report that a customer had left a baby in a vehicle, and that the child had been unattended in the vehicle for about 15 to 20 minutes.
The State Police detachment and the Rite-Aid pharmacy are both located in the Quincy Mall, so troopers arrived on scene within minutes.
“When we arrived, we found the baby in the back of the car,” O’Bryan said. “The vehicle was locked and the gentleman couldn’t get in the car” because his key fob wouldn’t allow him to enter the car, which he had left running.
O’Bryan said that Hancock stated “it was too much of a hassle to get the kid out of the car and take her into the pharmacy.”
The child was evaluated on-scene by paramedics and was in good health. The girl was released to the custody of her mother.
But O’Bryan said the situation could have had a much worse turnout. O’Bryan cited instances where cars have been stolen and babies have been abandoned on the side of a roadway or otherwise endangered.
“You never know who may steal your car and you never know who might steal your baby, especially when you leave your child in a car and you’re in the back of the store, not able to see the child at all,” O’Bryan said.
O’Bryan said a wrecker service was called to unlock the car so police could access the baby. He said the car was unlocked within five minutes of the wrecker being called to the scene.
Police have referred the case to Child Protective Services.
Contact writer Marcus Constantino at 304-348-1796 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at www.twitter.com/amtino.