Grandma arrested after leaving infant in car while shopping

Velda Huennekens (Source: McCracken County Jail)
Velda Huennekens (Source: McCracken County Jail)

By Heartland News

PADUCAH, KY (KFVS) - A Paducah woman was arrested after police say she left her three-month-old grandson unattended in a vehicle on the parking lot of a Kroger supermarket early Wednesday evening.

Police were called around 6:30 p.m. Officer Tim Hopkins arrived minutes later and interviewed several witnesses on the parking lot.

Mark Mannon of Paducah told Hopkins that he pulled into a parking spot and saw an infant alone inside a vehicle. Mannon says he noticed the infant was read and drenched with sweat.

"As hot as it was, it was just automatic," Mannon said. "Do what you can to get the baby out."

Mannon told police the vehicle was unlocked and the two front windows were rolled down.

"If it hadn't been open, I probably would have kicked it out because it was unbelievable how sweaty the baby was," Mannon said.

Mannon said he took the baby boy out of the car, and cared for the child for 10-15 minutes until the baby's grandmother, Velda Huennekens, came out of the store and took the child from him.

The air temperature was 91 degrees, according to E911 Central Dispatch.

"Some of the statistics I've been reading say in 10 minutes, the temperature rises 19 degrees inside a car," said Paducah police acting Captain Jason Merrick. "When you're talking about an infant's health, in 20 minutes, it's a 29 degree increase, so potentially 119 degrees in the car."

Mannon and other witnesses told the police Huennekens took the child back into the store.

Hopkins found Huennekens in the store. Huennekens had already called the child's mother, who was en route to the store.  Police say Huennekens told Hopkins that she forgot to get her grandson out of the car before going inside the store because "she had too much on her mind."

"Fifty-one percent of those deaths are due to people forgetting their children in the car," said Merrick.

To prevent accidents such as Wednesday evening, "Get in the habit of leaving your shopping bags, purse or briefcase in the back seat of the car, that way you know to look in the back seat," said Merrick.

Police arrested Huennekens on a charge of endangering the welfare of a minor. She was booked into McCracken County Regional Jail.

The infant was released to his mother and was taken to Lourdes Hospital where he was checked and released.

Copyright 2010 KFVS. All rights reserved.