HUNTINGTON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A Maryland father arrested on Long Island for allegedly leaving his 2-year-old daughter in a locked vehicle while he went shopping faced a judge Friday morning.
Melvin Marroquin, 30, pleaded not guilty to endangering the welfare of a child and reckless endangerment, CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported. Bail was set $20,000.
Around 12:40 p.m. Thursday, police said a passerby called 911 after noticing the little girl crying inside Marroquin’s Nissan Frontier with its windows closed in the parking lot of the Big H Shopping Center in Huntington.
Officers Derek Mangi and Aaron Klein responded and broke the vehicle’s window to get the little girl out, police said.
“When we initially got in through the window, a very hot blast of heat came right into my face,” Klein said. “She was beet red and there was drips of sweat beading off her face. It was beyond hot inside that car.”
When Marroquin returned to the car, police said he admitted he was gone for 25 minutes. Police said the estimated temperature in the car at the time was about 120 degrees.
“She was very hot when I picked her up,” Mangi said. “Her skin was burning, her hair was wet, stuck to her shoulders. We tried to get the water in her as quick as possible.”
Marroquin’s tearful wife was in court in support of her husband on Friday.
Their attorney said the child was left accidentally while the family was busy on a shopping outing with five children in tow.
“He is a very caring, committed father, and a very unusual thing happened,” said attorney Chris Olson.
Olson said Marroquin didn’t know the little girl had fallen asleep in the back.
“It was as much as a surprise to him as anybody when he came back and found police involved with his car not knowing that there was a sleeping child,” Olson said. “Things can happen like that.”
The toddler suffered from heat exposure, but was treated and released to her mother in good condition. The girl’s relatives said she has recovered and is doing OK.
The judge ordered Marroquin to stay away from the child as he fights the charges against him.
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