Deputies tried to pull over Rebecca Jean Fultz and Charolette J. Simpson on Aug. 15, when Simpson, who was driving the vehicle, kept going for another quarter mile until reaching a residence about two miles north of London, according to a statement by Laurel County Sheriff’s Office.
There, deputies learned that the two women had bench warrants out for their arrest and had to forcibly remove one of the women after she refused to get out of the minivan.
Eventually, Simpson told deputies there was a baby in the vehicle, reported WKYT. Looking inside the car, however, deputies saw that the child safety seat was empty.
Laurel County deputies said they found the 16-day-old baby between the two front seats of a minivan, struggling to breathe, and had “ants crawling on it, [in] a soiled diaper.” Authorities added that there was no air conditioning in the vehicle, which was full of trash and debris, including a flatscreen TV that “could have easily been thrown about in the vehicle during a sudden stop,” the statement read.
Temperatures reached 90 degrees that day, according to local media reports.
The newborn’s mother, Rebecca Jean Fultz, 32, has been charged with first-degree criminal abuse of a child, resisting arrest, and menacing, according to the statement.
The infant’s grandmother, Charolette J. Simpson, 69, has also been charged with first-degree criminal abuse of a child.
The baby boy was taken to a hospital where he received treatment for dehydration, according to the sheriff’s office and WKYT. The infant was then released to social services.
“I think it was very fortunate that we were there to come to the rescue for that child,” Deputy Gilbert Acciardo told the CBS affiliate. “Definitely we needed to make an arrest and we needed to take charge of that infant and see that it got emergency care. It was a very dire situation, to say the least.”
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According to WDRB, deputies said that Simpson only told them there was a baby inside ten minutes after Fultz was subdued.
“We told them the baby was in there,” Simpson told WKYT from the Laurel County Corrections Center. “We were in the shade, and the windows were down. It was living. I mean, why in the world?”
Fultz also insisted deputies had exaggerated the baby’s condition, although she would not say why he wasn’t in the car seat.
“He just had a few heat bumps on him, but that was it,” the 32-year-old London woman said. “I treated my son good. I’m a good mom.”
Fultz and Simpson are facing numerous charges and are being held at Laurel County Corrections.
On top of the new charges, Fultz was also charged on a “Rockcastle District Court bench warrant of arrest charging failure to appear in court on charges of failure to use child restraint device in vehicle; failure of owner to maintain required insurance – first offense; failure to produce insurance card,” according to the statement.
Simpson “was charged regarding the traffic stop and charged with operating on suspended or revoked operator’s license; failure to wear seatbelts; failure of nonowner operator to maintain required insurance – first offense; no registration plates; no registration receipt. In addition, this individual was charged on a Rockcastle District Court bench warrant of arrest charging failure to appear in court on charges of operating on suspended or revoked operator’s license.”