Casper Police: Baby Left in Hot SUV; Woman Arrested
Casper police say a woman was arrested Thursday after she left a baby inside a hot SUV and a bystander called police.
Heather D. Ritchie was booked into jail on a recommended charge of abandoning or endangering a child.
According to a police affidavit, an officer responded to a salon in the 100 block of South Wolcott at 3:37 p.m. to perform a welfare check after a witness called police and reported a baby had been left inside a black Chevrolet Tahoe for about 15 minutes.
The witness reported that the vehicle was not running, the windows were cracked and a baby was crying.
The officer arrived and found all four windows had been cracked about two inches. The engine was not running, and the vehicle was parked in direct sunlight.
An infant child in a car seat and a large dog were inside the Tahoe.
The officer attempted to open the vehicle, but found the doors to be locked. At that point, Ritchie exited a business and yelled at the officer.
Ritchie said she had left the child unattended for "no more than five, maybe ten minutes." She said she did not leave the vehicle running in order to preserve gas.
When the officer asked why Ritchie had not taken the child with her into the business, Ritchie said, "I don't know, I messed up."
The child was crying and had sweaty hair, police say. EMS responded to the scene and found no medical problems with the child.
A witness told the officer that the child had been left unattended for roughly 20 minutes.
At roughly 4 p.m., the outside air temperature was logged at 85 degrees Fahrenheit. The officer later used a website to obtain an approximate internal temperature for the vehicle and found it would have been 114 degrees Fahrenheit when the child was inside the Tahoe.
The child was taken into protective custody. Ritchie was taken to jail.