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Mother arrested after allegedly leaving her 14-month-old in hot, locked car to enter liquor store

Posted at 1:13 PM, Jun 29, 2019

A woman is facing a possible charge of child endangerment in Oklahoma, after police say she left her 14-month-old child in a car for 15 to 20 minutes so that she could go into a liquor store.

Police in Owasso said officers were called to the Owasso Wine and Liquor a little after 6:30 p.m. Wednesday after they received a call about a child locked inside a vehicle.

There was no key in the ignition and the air "was turned on low, however no air was moving," the police report said. The front windows were also rolled down 1 to 2 inches, officers said.

The child was described as having "red clammy skin tone, sweating and crying hysterically," the report said.

When officers arrived to the store's parking lot, a bystander could be heard telling them on body-cam footage that she'd initially seen the child lying down in the car.

"I can hear him but I can't see him anymore," she told the officer as he peered into the locked vehicle and attempted to open the doors.

A few moments later, two women including the child's mother — identified by police as Gretchen Anne Markovics, 24, of Owasso, Oklahoma — could be seen on body-cam footage leaving the store.

"Is this your car?" one officer asks the unidentified woman.

"Yes, sir," the woman can be heard saying off camera.
"Open it up right now," the officer says as a child can be heard crying from inside the car.

After the woman unlocks the car and opens the driver's side door, the officer puts her under arrest.

"The hell were you thinking?" he asks her.

Another officer could then be seen on body-cam footage removing the crying child, wearing only a diaper, from the car as medics were called to the scene. Markovics then appeared on the other side of the vehicle.

"I thought the A.C. was on," Markovics tells officers.

"The car isn't even running," the officer tells her as he arrests her.

The temperature outside was 88 degrees, police said in their report, but it had a real feel of 91 degrees with 59% humidity. The car was parked in direct sunlight with no shade, police said.

"Whenever the baby starts sweating, that means the baby is overheated and that can quickly lead to dehydration and heat exhaustion and so on, so we are lucky this child made it out OK," Owasso police Lt. Nick Boatman told ABC News affiliate KTUL-TV.

The child was treated by medics and then taken to a hospital as a precaution, police said.

Markovics was transported to Tulsa County Jail and being held on $25,000 bond. It was unclear if she had a lawyer, according to the jail. Her next court date was scheduled for July 5.