Search for woman over locked baby continues

A baby was spotted in the undercover parking of Lynwood Bridge shopping centre last Wednesday. Photo: Adriaan Adams/Facebook

Gopolang Chawane

Police were on Monday still trying to find a woman who left a baby in a locked vehicle at a Lynnwood shopping centre last week.

Garsfontein police spokesperson Warrant Officer Dave Miller said investigations were underway after police received a complaint.

Shoppers noticed the baby locked inside a vehicle in the undercover parking bay of Lynnwood Bridge shopping center last Wednesday.

“Investigations are underway and police are looking to get in contact with the woman believed to be the mother of the baby,” Miller said.

He said police were probing possible negligence, but the outcome of the investigation would determine the way forward.

“The mother would be interviewed and depending on the outcome, the matter will be handed to child services,” said Miller.

“We are in contact with officials from child protection agencies and we are confident that they will bring much-needed expertise into this matter.”

The Lynwood shopping centre spokesperson Julia Godwin confirmed the centre was aware of the episode.

“The incident is being investigated according to our strict security guidelines as well as thorough health and safety protocols,” Godwin said.

She said the safety of all who visited the mall was taken

seriously and the centre was attending to the matter with urgency.

“We will issue a statement at a later stage if/as appropriate.

Shopper Adriaan Adams posted a picture of the baby inside the locked vehicle and its registration number on social media on the Wednesday, appealing to anyone in the shopping centre at the time to notify the mother to return to her vehicle for the baby.

He appealed to readers to notify the mother after he had been waiting for more than 10 minutes near the car.

Adams said as he was coming down an escalator when he saw the child locked up.

He said he first assumed the parent or driver had only stepped out of the vehicle to pay for parking.

“We waited not far from the vehicle to make sure the driver does return before we left.”

Adams said he was not sure how long the baby was in the car for.

He said after about 10 minutes there was still no sign of anyone returning to the car and he notified a security guard, who called his superior.

“As people were gathering around the car, the mother arrived.”

Asked why she left her baby alone, the mother told Adams: “I had no other option.”

She threw her shopping bags into the car and drove off.

“What concerns me the most is that anyone could have stolen the baby while the mother was in the mall shopping,” Adams said.

ChildLine director Lynn Cawood said although the law did not outline leaving a child in a car as a criminal offence, but locking a baby in a car without supervision amounted to negligence.

“A number of things could happen to the baby,” Cawood said.

The infant or toddler in this case could suffocate or die from heat stroke while inside the vehicle. The car could also be stolen with the child inside.

Cawood advised anyone noticing a baby locked in a vehicle to call child line or call 10 111.

“Never leave a child alone in a vehicle as this does constitute negligence.”

Also read: 

Cops investigating after baby locked in car

Mother leaves toddler in sealed locked car

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