Farmington woman accused of child abuse for leaving child unattended in vehicle

Police believe child was left in vehicle for at least 30 minutes

Joshua Kellogg
Farmington Daily Times
  • Loretta Harrison, 69, is accused of a third-degree felony count of child abuse, according to the criminal complaint.
  • The Farmington Police Department was dispatched around 2:59 p.m. on April 9 to the Olive Garden restaurant at 5150 E. Main St. on reports of a child abandoned in a vehicle.
  • The defendant’s preliminary hearing is set for the morning of April 19 in Farmington Magistrate Court.

FARMINGTON — A Farmington woman is accused of child abuse for allegedly leaving a child unattended in a vehicle. Witnesses said the child was hot to the touch and sweating when found inside the vehicle.

Loretta Harrison, 69, is accused of a third-degree felony count of child abuse, according to the criminal complaint.

The defendant did not have legal representation on the morning of April 15.

The Farmington Police Department was dispatched around 2:59 p.m. on April 9 to the Olive Garden restaurant at 5150 E. Main St. on reports of a child abandoned in a vehicle.

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An officer arrived on scene and found the three-year-old girl being evaluated by paramedics inside the restaurant.

An employee told police a customer notified the restaurant of the child sitting alone in a vehicle, crying.

The employee went outside and saw the windows on the vehicle rolled up. The child was crying and trying to push the door as to get out of the vehicle.

The doors were found to be unlocked and the child leapt into the arms of an employee when the vehicle door was opened.

The child was described as hot to the touch and sweating.

Police believe the child was left alone for at least 30 minutes inside the vehicle.

The temperature inside a vehicle can increase by 20 degrees within 10 minutes and as high as 40 degrees within an hour, according to the Seattle Children’s Hospital.

The hospital also wrote a child’s body heats up about three to five times faster than an adult’s and has not developed the ability to cool down well.

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The employees took the child inside the restaurant and gave her some orange juice, then took her to the restroom.

Employees also saw adults exiting Ashley HomeStore around 3:16 p.m. and approach the vehicle that had the child.

Harrison called dispatch at 3:21 p.m., stating the child was missing from the vehicle.

The defendant told police she left the child sleeping the vehicle with a juvenile male, who later left the vehicle.

Harrison denied going into the furniture store, stating she was visiting with relatives in a nearby vehicle.

A sergeant took a photo of Harrison and presented to employees of the furniture store, who recognized her as a recent customer.

Harrison was arrested at the scene then booked into the San Juan County Adult Detention Center and released the next day.

The defendant’s preliminary hearing is set for the morning of April 19 in Farmington Magistrate Court.

Joshua Kellogg covers breaking news for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

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