MIAMI (CBSMiami) — A mother accused of leaving her child in the car while she gambled said her arrest is the result of a misunderstanding.
Nancy Joseph, 36, was arrested Tuesday night.
According to the Seminole Police Dept., Joseph’s 4 year old daughter was found screaming and crying alone in the backseat of the family van.
An officer conducting a traffic stop near the Seminole Classic Casino on US 441 and Stirling Rd. found the girl. The van was unlocked but the windows were rolled up.
Joseph, and her friend Salomon Baptiste, were arrested.
Investigators said surveillance video showed them inside the casino for 2 to 3 hours while the girl was alone in the van.
“I’m not a bad mom. I would never do that because I have seven kids,” Joseph told CBS4’s Lauren Pastrana after bonding out of the Broward Main Jail.
Joseph said her daughter, Destiny, had spent the day with some older family members. When Joseph went to use the family van to go play Bingo, she said she didn’t know Destiny was still inside in the backseat. She said another relative must have left her there from earlier in the day because the girl had fallen asleep.
“For some reason she fell asleep in the back of the car and I was going out. She was sleeping because I have a van. I didn’t check to see if my daughter was in the back of the car,” Joseph explained.
Baptiste was also charged with child neglect.
He was being kept on an immigration hold at the Broward Main Jail Wednesday night.
Joseph said she rents a room to Baptiste and that he only came from Haiti in the last couple years. She said the language barrier prevented him from explaining that he had only gone with Joseph so he could get a ride and that he didn’t know the child was in the car either.
Joseph said the news that her daughter had possibly been in danger sent her blood pressure soaring.
She said she has no reason to leave her child alone.
“I have my daughter in law, she’s 21 at home. My son is 19. Another son that’s 17 and my auntie lives with me. I have enough people to babysit my daughter,” Joseph said. “I have six boys (and) one girl. My girl is a princess for me. Why would I leave her in the car? Why?!”
The Department of Children and Families is investigating.
The little girl was checked out at the hospital but has since been released to the care of a family friend.