Mother accused of leaving child in hot car outside Fort Lauderdale BJ’s bonds out

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - A Lauderhill woman has bonded out of jail after she was arrested for allegedly leaving her 21-month-old daughter in a hot car for hours while she went shopping at BJ’s.

Thirty-two-year-old Shantrell Mitchell hid her face and declined to comment on her charges as she walked out of the Broward County Jail, Friday evening.

Tuesday afternoon, surveillance cameras captured the suspect pulling into the parking lot of the BJ’s Wholesale located at 5100 NW 9th Ave., in Fort Lauderdale.

The security footage shows Mitchell parking in the shaded area of the lot just after noon.

“She then proceeds to get out and manually lock each door, opening the rear driver side, the rear passenger side and the front door and manually locks them,” said Fort Lauderdale Police spokesperson Tracy Figone. “Her child was in a car seat directly behind her.”

The surveillance video shows Mitchell walking into the store with her daughter still inside the car with the windows rolled up in the Florida summer heat.

About three hours later, Mitchell is seen returning to her vehicle and starting to put her eggs in the back seat.

It was then that, investigators said, Mitchell realized the child was passed out in the back seat and flagged down a store employee to call 911.

According to the arrest report, she told detectives she had forgotten the toddler in the backseat.

Mitchell also told police she placed her child near the air conditioning vent to cool her down and poured iced tea all over her body.

Customers at BJ’s shared their reactions.

“That’s crazy, how you forget your child,” one parent said as she put her 3-year-old son in the back seat of her car. “He’s 3. He doesn’t talk, and I can’t leave him because he doesn’t make sounds yet.”

“It’s hard to imagine how someone can forget their child,” Sharon Nelson, another customer, said.

Orelia Goodwin, mother to a 3-year-old daughter, said she can’t imagine Mitchell leaving her daughter strapped to a back seat in a hot car either.

Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue paramedics arrived and rushed Mitchell’s daughter to the hospital, where her condition significantly improved.

“The child had a temperature of 105 degrees, was suffering from seizures, had to be transferred to Holy Cross Hospital, where [her] body temperature was 106 degrees, and the condition drastically improved due to the treatment the child received,” said Eric Linder, an assistant state attorney, during a court hearing.

The latest hot car incident comes weeks after 2-year-old Noah Sneed died in a hot van outside Ceressa’s Day Care in Oakland Park.

The driver in this case also claimed she just forgot him.

“Moms are really busy, they got a lot on their minds, a lot of problems, but still your child has to be in the forefront,” Nelson said. “They can’t defend themselves in a situation like that.”

Mitchell got charged with one count of aggravated child abuse, Thursday, and was held on $10,000 bond.

The judge ordered her not to have any contact with her daughter.

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