An Oklahoma mother who allegedly left her 14-month-old son in a car in the full sun while she went into a liquor store was greeted by police officers when she returned 20 minutes later.
Gretchen Anne Markovics, 24, of Owasso, Oklahoma, was arrested and charged with child endangerment after officers in Owasso were alerted to a child crying inside a vehicle in the early evening of June 26.
Body camera footage captured the moment that Markovics emerged from the Owasso Wine and Liquor store and was challenged by officers. They had arrived only moments earlier to investigate reports of a child crying hysterically with a red clammy skin tone in 88-degree heat.
“Is this your car?” one officer can be heard asking an unidentified woman who accompanied Markovics, in body camera footage obtained by many local media outlets, including KTUL.
WATCH: Body camera footage released from Owasso police after they say a woman left her 14-month-old baby inside her vehicle while she went into a liquor store Wednesday evening. — https://t.co/7ittOk0VnQ pic.twitter.com/Z4D6QjguE5
— Tulsa’s Channel 8 (@KTULNews) June 27, 2019
“Yes, sir,” the woman can be heard saying off camera.
“Open it up right now,” the officer says.
The woman unlocks the car and is arrested.
“The hell were you thinking?” the officer says.
Markovic can be seen in the footage on the other side of the vehicle, after the child, who is wearing only a diaper, is taken out of the car.
“I thought the A.C. was on,” Markovics says, as she is arrested.
“The car isn’t even running,” the officer replies.
According to KTUL multiple witnesses said they saw the baby inside the vehicle about 15 minutes before police received a dispatch call.
The car was parked in direct sunlight with no shade, police said, reported ABC.
Boatman said the child was subjected to dangerous levels of heat for around 15-20 minutes according to the Owasso Reporter.
The baby was taken to a metropolitan hospital for treatment, according to the Reporter, and then released into the custody of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.
Markovics is being held on a $25,000 bond in Tulsa County Jail according to jail records and is next due in court on July 5.
“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 KTUL-TV.
Hot Car Deaths
Every year, an average of 38 children under the age of 15 die from heat stroke after being left in a vehicle, according to Injury Facts.
Parents of children who die after being left in hot cars often face trial, typically for charges of manslaughter.
In an unusual case, earlier this week a mother was convicted of premeditated murder for leaving her 3-year-old under a blanket in an SUV while the California sun beat down for over nine hours.
A jury found Angela Phakhin guilty of premeditated murder and torture after she repeatedly left her daughter in her vehicle during the summer of 2017, according to a statement (pdf) from the district attorney.
On June 28, 2017, during a routine traffic stop in Sacramento, officers discovered Phakhin had an outstanding warrant when they carried out a background check. On searching the car, they found her daughter, Maiya, unresponsive under some blankets. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Temperatures reached 89 degrees that day.
Almost exactly two years later, on June 26 Phakhin was convicted of first-degree murder, according to the district attorney. Her fiancee, Untwan Smith, is awaiting trial on the same charges.