SOUTH EUCLID, Ohio (WOIO) - A 31-year-old Cleveland woman claimed she was only in Walmart for “five minutes” while a 4-year-old boy was left alone in the car, according to South Euclid Police.
However, police said those “five” were actually 55 minutes.
Police said officers were notified on March 29 that a small child was left abandoned inside a running car parked at the Walmart on Warrensville Center Road for about an hour.
When officers arrived, they saw the child was alone inside the car and the engine was on, police said.
Officers knocked on the car’s rolled-up window, but the child did not respond, according to police.
While they investigated, a woman walked out of the store and claimed to be the 4-year-old boy’s mother, police said.
Police said the mother, identified as Leah Elise McComb, told officers that she was only in the store for “five minutes.”
That contradicted the witness’ claim that McComb had been in the store for at least 45 minutes, according to police.
McComb responded, “I know for a fact I wasn’t in there 45 minutes,” according to police.
According to police, officers checked the store security cameras and saw her leave the car in the parking lot at 5:32 p.m. and come back at 6:27 p.m.
That’s 55 minutes.
When McComb was confronted with that information, she blamed the mishap on the long lines at Walmart, according to police.
According to police, she was cited for endangering children.
“When charged, the woman explained she is in the process of adopting children, and asked if this criminal charge would have any negative ramifications on the adoption process,” police said. “Officers informed her that they are unaware if it will or not.”
When 19 News asked SEPD PIO Joe Di Lillo Jr. on the condition of the child, he confirmed, “The child appeared fine and did not require medical attention on scene... he appeared to not have suffered any ill effects from being in the car that length of time.”