Mom who left kids in car to go shopping, faces felony charges

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - A woman faces felony child neglect charges after police say she left three children in her car while she went shopping.  27-year-old Joy Gresham was arrested on Friday at a shopping center at Rittenhouse drive and Hull street in Chesterfield. Police charged her with three counts of felony child neglect.

NBC12 spoke to concerned moms at that same shopping center Saturday. Ross Altenbaugh just had a baby three weeks ago. She never lets him leave her side. News of Fridays' incident gives her a bigger reason to keep an eye on her newborn.

"It's just not okay," said Altenbaugh. "You have to get them out of the car even of you could do it quickly. You just think I could run in really fast and get it done but it doesn't take any time for a child to get overheated."

Police arrested 27-year-old Joy Gresham just after 6 p.m. Friday after three children, all under eight-years-old, were left in her car as temperatures reached 80 degrees.

"That's horrible," said a mom who recently had a newborn. "I would never leave my kids in the car. I'm scared to even turn my back."

Police say a person walking by noticed the children inside the car and immediately called 911. The mom's NBC12 spoke to say it's a call they wouldn't think twice about making.

"I think I would have reported as well," said Stephanie Cleveland-Jones.

"I'd make the phone call," Altenbaugh added.

"You know it's understandable's really hard to get a child in and out of a car," said Altenbaugh. "I's a lot of work but you have to do it to make sure your child stays safe and its way too important. It gets way too hot," Altenbaugh noted.

"I think it's terrible," Cleveland-Jones said. "I would never leave my kids in the car especially with the temperature. It's not safe at all so I wouldn't have done that."

Chesterfield Fire and EMS says the kids are going to be okay. For now, they're staying with family. Police can't confirm if Gresham is the mother of the children. She is scheduled to appear in Juvenile and Domestic Court Monday at noon.