NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A mother has been arrested for abandoning her 6-year-old child.
The little girl’s stepfather is also charged after she was left near a busy intersection in Queens.
CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis spoke to the woman who found the child and brought her to safety.
Heartbreaking video shows the child abandoned in seconds. The video shows a white car slowly stop in the middle of the road. On the driver’s side, a bag can be seen being dropped out the window. Then on the other side, a little girl gets out. She waves at the car as it pulls away.
At the same time, a red car pulls up, with Mishka Peart driving.
“I’m just happy that I’m the one who pulled up. When the detectives told me that it was within seconds of her being thrown out of the car, I was like — I was put there. I was meant to be there,” she said.
It happened around 11:30 a.m. Monday, when Peart saw the 6-year-old standing in the middle of 140th Avenue at Springfield Boulevard, a busy Queens intersection.
“I saw her with the little garbage bag, and I could clearly see that there were clothing items in there. She just looked at me like, like she needed my help,” Peart said. “I said ‘Hey where are you going?’ And she said ‘I don’t know.’ So I said ‘Where are your parents?’ And she said, ‘They left me.’ I said ‘They left you? What does that mean?'”
Peart brought the little girl to a school safety agent she remembered seeing earlier at Montbeller Park.
Police sources say she had no identification and only knew her first name. Fortunately, she wasn’t hurt.
“She was very emotional and she was just scared,” Peart said.
Using surveillance footage, investigators tracked down and arrested the child’s mother, 29-year-old Patrice Chambers of Central Islip, and 28-year-old Mark Pamphile, who police sources said is the child’s stepfather.
Charges include child abandonment and reckless endangerment.
Chambers does not have legal custody of her daughter, according to sources, who said the child had been previously removed from her for inability to care for the child. But, CBS2’s Jennifer DeAngelis was told her biological father doesn’t have contact or legal custody, either.
Peart sad she’s just glad she was there for the little girl.
“Anyone else could have picked her up. She could have been abused. She could have been killed,” Peart said. “I can’t imagine someone could do that to a child, let alone their own child.”
The child is now in the care of the city’s Administration for Children’s Services.
“Our top priority is protecting the safety and wellbeing of all children in New York City. We are investigating this case with the NYPD,” said ACS spokesperson Sam Chafee.
The question remains: Who was legally responsible for the child at the time of the incident? But ACS says it can not share confidential case details.
“There’s options out there for parents who get to that point that they no longer want custody of their children or they no longer want responsibility of their children,” Peart said. “Even with what happened yesterday, maybe she could have taken her to a precinct or a police station or something where she would have at least been safe. I would say seek out those options first before like thinking of last resort abandoning your child and ending up in prison for it.”