A San Antonio mother was arrested after leaving her three children in a hot car while shopping, police say

A mother who police said left her three children in a hot car in San Antonio, Texas, for nearly an hour while shopping was arrested after a good Samaritan helped rescue them from the vehicle.

Officers were dispatched to the location after receiving a call from a bystander alerting them there were children inside a vehicle that was turned off, the San Antonio Police Department said in its preliminary report. First responders discovered a 1-month-old, 2-year-old, and 4-year-old in the car.

“The mother of the children (suspect) was at the scene and stated she went inside a store and did not realize how long she was gone,” the department said. “Based on information gathered, the children were in the car for approximately 50 minutes.”

Angela Garza–Amador was arrested June 28 and charged with three counts of abandoning/endangering a child, according to the report. She was released on bond June 29, according to the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office.

It is unclear if Garza–Amador has legal representation.

A woman who rescued the children and took a video of the moment told CNN affiliate KENS she was walking toward a children’s clothing store when she noticed a young boy in the car next to her.

She said she felt her “mother’s instincts” and decided to looked inside and found another child in the car and alerted store employees to call 911. She then tried to open the car door and found it unlocked and helped the children while waiting for first responders to arrive.

“The boy, he was really sweating profusely, and you know, was crying. It seemed like he was grasping for air to me, like they were already on that verge,” the woman, who wanted to remain anonymous, told KENS. “A lot of parents think, ‘Oh, it’s OK, I’ll be right back,’ but so much can happen in that time frame.”

In the video, at least three women can be seen helping get the three children out of the car, including a baby from its car seat, as the three-year-old boy cries while struggling to breathe.

“I live across town, I hadn’t been there to that store I was going to in 10 years,” she added. “I feel that God literally sent me over there for those kids.”

The temperature in the San Antonio area at the time was between 98 and 100 degrees. A National Weather Service chart comparing outside and inside-the-car temperatures showed after one hour inside a car with an outside temperature of 93 degrees, the temperature in the vehicle could reach up to 130 degrees.

The children were transported to a hospital for treatment and were expected to be discharged from the hospital the same day, according to the preliminary police report.

Child protective services was notified of the incident, police said.

“While details of investigations are confidential according to law, I can confirm there was no open case regarding this family when the report of this incident came in,” a Texas Department of Family and Protective Services spokesperson told CNN. “The children were not placed in CPS care and were placed in the care of family.”

There have been at least seven hot car children’s deaths in 2024, according to Kids and Car Safety, an organization researching and documenting car death data. At least 1,090 children have died in hot cars nationwide since 1990.

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