Authorities have arrested a mother on a wanton endangerment charge, accusing her of leaving her baby in a car during dangerously cold weather.
Police arrested Samantha Lauer, 25, of New Richmond on Tuesday in Dayton, Ky. Lauer was arrested after a neighbor heard a baby crying and called police.
Robert Spradlin, who lives on Fifth Street in Dayton, says small cries from a locked vehicle brought him out of his home on Tuesday afternoon.
"I happened to be off work yesterday because of the cold and I noticed a baby in the truck just sobbing," explains Spradlin.
After trying for 20 minutes to find the truck's owner, Spradlin called police. He says the mother came outside as police arrived.
"I asked her did she know she had a baby in the car and she said yes," explains Spradlin. "She put him in there because they didn't have any heat in the house. I said ‘you know you don't have that truck running, there can't be heat in that truck either and it's 6-7 degrees out here.' But that was her excuse."
Doctor Peter Kambelos, a family physician, says in near zero temperatures, exposure for infants could become deadly in a matter of hours.
"Anything from a relatively minor frostbite type burn to death and the particularly vulnerable are the elderly and the very young," explains Kambelos.
Police arrested Lauer, charging her with first degree wantan endangerment.
Child protective services took custody of the baby, a result Spradlin says is probably best.
"I'm not saying she is a bad mother. I think she made a bad mistake," says Spradlin. "But hopefully she learned her lesson."
Lauer is expected to appear before a judge Thursday morning in Campbell District Court.
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