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Police arrest couple accused of leaving children inside hot car

Parents arrested for leaving two kids in 125+ degree car

LAWRENCE, Ind. (WISH) — An Indianapolis couple was arrested and preliminarily charged with two counts of child neglect after police say the pair left their children in a vehicle in which the heat reached more than 125 degrees.

Watson Joseph and Mirianne Pierre were accused of leaving their two children alone inside a dangerously hot SUV for 44 minutes on Monday night at the parking lot of Walmart, 10735 Pendleton Pike, a report said.

A bystander noticed the children locked inside the SUV, which wasn’t running, and called the police.

As Lawrence Police Department officers responded, the couple was getting into the SUV and were confused about what was happening.

According to the report, one of the children “was quiet and sweating profusely from his head and neck, dripping sweat, while the second was quiet, seaming dazed, and not sweating at all.”

Medics arrived and checked both vitals of the children, which were normal. The medics said the children were OK. Both children had higher blood pressure than what’s normal for children their age, the report said.

Capt. Michael Sostre of Lawrence Police Department told News 8, “Your children should not be left in a vehicle for any extended period of time regardless of the temperature just due to the fact that anything can happen to them when left unattended.”

“When the temperature’s hot, the internal temperature of that vehicle rises very quickly.”

Pierre told the police officers she was only inside for a little bit, and that Joseph came inside to assist her with heavy items.

“Make the children your priority and your personal items secondary,” Sostre said.

News 8 put a GoPro camera and a thermometer inside a car in the afternoon for 44 minutes to see what would happen with the temperature.

The GoPro overheated and stopped recording in just 11 minutes and 42 seconds. It only took 7 minutes and 50 seconds for that thermometer to reach its maximum temperature of 120 degrees in our midsize SUV.

Dr. Cory Showalter, who works in emergency medicine at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, said extreme heat is even more dangerous for children. “Even opening the windows and running into the store for a few minutes, your car can get to extraordinarily high temperatures, which are dangerous for your kids.”

When it comes to the question of breaking a window yourself to rescue a child, Sostre of Lawrence police said the child should come first. “I don’t want to tell anybody to damage somebody else’s property, but our main focus and the focus of a concerned citizen should be the safety of those children, and saving somebody’s life. If it comes down to you having to break a window to keep a small child alive, I can live with that.”

The pair was arrested and booked into the Marion County jail. The children were taken to the Lawrence police headquarters to be later transferred to the Indiana Department of Child Services.

According to online court records, formal charges had not been filed Wednesday morning.

Police say officers’ bodycams captured the incident, but the footage will not be released due to the ongoing investigation.

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