Women accused of leaving kids alone in car

By Andy Jenks - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - A late night shopping trip to the Short Pump Wal-Mart, landed two women in jail.

Henrico police charged Starline Hanley and Leondria Brantley of Richmond, with child neglect, after three children were found, alone in their car. One of those children is just eight months old. The others are two and seven years old.

It was late at night and for reasons that aren't quite clear, Starline Hanley and Leondria Brantley drove to the Short Pump Wal-Mart just before 1 a.m. on Tuesday. Officers then got a tip that three small children were left alone in their Jeep Grand Cherokee.

"The two-year-old and seven-year-old; totally unacceptable. But an 8-month-old? I mean, they cannot care for themselves at all," said Henrico Police Lt. Doug Perry.

By the time police arrived the children had been in the car, alone, for half an hour. And it would take other 45 minutes to track down the women after police made a storewide announcement.

"Finally we had to say, 'Look the lady who left your three kids in the car, in the Jeep Cherokee out in front of Wal-Mart, come to the front of the store ASAP!' And that's finally what got 'em up there," said Perry.

Surprisingly, police say the women did not appear to be worried: not for Brantley's 2-year-old son, or 7-year-old niece. Not even for Hanley's 8-month-old baby boy.

"The suspects in this case were very nonchalant about it. They just said they were in there for just a few minutes shopping, when in fact we can prove they were in there for over an hour just from the video," Perry said.

Despite being left alone for all that time, the children turned out to be fine, and were given to a relative. But police say it doesn't always work out that way.

"Anything could've happened to those children in the half hour time period from the time the citizen saw them to when police arrived. They could've been abducted. They could've gotten out of the car and wandered off," Perry said.

Hanley bonded out of jail this morning, but as of this afternoon Brantley was still in custody. Both face felony neglect charges on all three children.

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