EVERETT — It was about 35 degrees outside Monday evening when the officer walked up to the car in the Everett Mall parking lot.
The vehicle, parked outside a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant, was not running. The doors were locked.
Inside were two children, ages 2 and 6 months.
One was screaming.
“It was so cold I started to get chills and goosebumps on my own,” the officer wrote in his report.
Mall security told the officer that they had been waiting by the vehicle for at least 30 minutes.
A short time later, a man approached the officer. He said it was his sister’s car.
Then a woman emerged from the mall. She gave a name, a false one it turned out, and told the officer she’d been in the mall for roughly 10 minutes. She said the kids were hers, that they had been sleeping and she didn’t want to wake them up.
The woman told the officer she was going to find the owner of the vehicle inside the mall. The officer had mall security follow her.
She came out with another woman, but while inside the woman who had spoken with the officer allegedly threw a Nevada driver’s license into the trash. A security officer retrieved the identification.
The I.D. matched the woman, who wound up handcuffed for making false and misleading statements. She reportedly also had a felony warrant for her arrest. In her wallet, the officer allegedly found a plastic baggie containing methamphetamine.
The other woman and her brother allegedly told the officer that they had met the mother at the restaurant. They drank beer and ordered food. So did the mom.
“She agreed her children could have been substantially harmed by her actions,” the officer wrote.
The woman was booked into the Snohomish County Jail for investigation of two counts of abandonment of a dependent person, drug possession, making a misleading statement and a parole violation. Bail was set at $50,000.
Everett doesn’t get many reports of child abandonment involving cars, police officer Aaron Snell said.
Typically, they involve someone running into a store for a quick errand.
“This one was more egregious,” he said. “It’s December. It’s cold out. We’re definitely glad someone called 911 to let us know.”
Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446; firstname.lastname@example.org.