DEERFIELD (CBSMiami) – The mother of a 17-month old boy faced a judge after she was arrested for allegedly leaving her baby in the car.
On Thursday, May 22nd Thomas faced a judge in bond court and later for a shelter hearing where a judge decided what should happen to her child.
Ereka Shardea Thomas, 20, was charged with one count of child neglect without bodily harm after the Broward Sheriff’s Office said she left her baby alone in the back seat of a running, air conditioned car for about half an hour.
She was outside and employment office in Deerfield Beach.
“She’s not shopping at Marshalls or at the convenience store. She’s trying to get a job. I would ask the court to take that into consideration,” said Assistant Public Defender W. Dale Miller.
Thomas told a judge in her bond hearing that she was applying for work.
“I was looking for a job and my child was sleeping,” said Thomas.
A family court judge was also concerned about the little boy’s well being, opting to keep the toddler in the custody of the state, while Thomas remains in jail.
“At this point in time, the court’s going to make a finding of probable cause,” said the judge at the shelter hearing.
The judge decided the child will remain in custody of the Department of Children and Families.
Child welfare investigators are dealing with officials in Thomas’ home state of Alabama. They suggested the child stay put, in state care.
“They also recommended that we not make any relative placement based on the history of the family up there,” said Assistant Attorney General Cindy Birch.
Thomas began crying after the Judge’s decision. Despite the allegations of child neglect for leaving her toddler alone in a running car, Thomas claims she’s a good mom.
“I didn’t neglect my child. I love him,” said Thomas.
Both a judge and investigators voiced grave concerns of what could have happened to the toddler who was left alone in a running car.
“It doesn’t seem the harm was leaving the child in the car as far as the child’s physical well being but the child could have been snatched by somebody walking on the street,” said Broward Magistrate Judge John Hurley.
Thomas faced Judge Hurley at a bond court hearing earlier.
“It says the car was running. There was air conditioning. You just left him unattended for that long… 30 minutes,” said Judge Hurley.
Thomas was booked into jail on Wednesday, May 21st.
Emergency crews responded to a parking lot off of Powerline and Sample Road at around 2:00 p.m. Wednesday afternoon when witnesses saw the child and called 911.
The 17-month old boy, according to BSO, was left inside a running Oldsmobile.The boy was checked out and was doing okay as of Wednesday.
BSO says the circumstances could have killed him.
“Fortunately this didn’t end in a tragedy, it could have,” said Mike Jachles of BSO Fire.
“This thermometer registered almost 100 degrees on dash of car running with air conditioning,” said Jachles. “A lot of times babies can overheat very quickly… We’ve seen cases where children have died in hot cars in a short amount of time.
Thomas is being held on no bond due to a violation of probation.