A Mississippi man was arrested and is facing felony child abuse charges after being accused of intentionally locking a disabled child in a hot car as a way to punish the child’s mother.
According to the Clarion-Ledger, 31-year-old Brandon Windham was taken into custody Thursday after witnesses saw him roll up the windows of the car, lock the doors and walk away, Columbus Assistant Police Chief Fred Shelton said.
Shelton added that Windham and the child’s mother were in a relationship and “were involved in an altercation earlier in the day.” Shelton confirmed that it appeared as if Windham locked the child in the car to “punish” the mother.
The little girl, who is between the ages of 6 and 10, is disabled and was not able to free herself.
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Columbus Police Capt. Brent Swan said that Windham is not the child’s father.
Witnesses on the scene called 911, and officers had to use a tool to get the doors of the vehicle unlocked. By the time that police removed the child from the vehicle, she had been in there for 10-20 minutes, Swan said.
She was taken to the hospital, where she was checked for injuries and then released upon being found to be uninjured.
Shelton said that had the child not been rescued when she was, the situation may not have ended as it did.
“The heat index was 90 degrees that day,” he said. “If she had sat in that car for an hour, it probably could have been something bad.”
Windham, for his part, was arrested and charged with felony child abuse. He appeared in court Monday, where he was denied bond because of a hold from the Mississippi Department of Corrections.
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