Twenty two year old Victoria Baker was released from jail a day after she was arrested on child neglect charges. Her one year old is now in protective custody with the Florida Department of Children and Families. "The child is doing fine," said John Harrell," it could have been worse."
Baker was at the Goodwill Job Junction on Lenox Avenue applying for a job while her son was sitting in the car in the parking lot.
"We are glad people saw the child and did the right thing," said Harrell.
This is the second case in as many weeks. On April 29th another parent left her infant in a hot car in the Publix parking lot on Old St. Augustine Road while she went shopping in the supermarket. Elizabeth Ross was one of the many customers in the Publix parking lot.
"The girl seemed very lethargic" said Ross," she was very red and flush."
Ross, a parent, was so angry by what she say she wrote a blog about the incident and warned parents not to do it.
She was surprised to learn that the parent was issued a citation. "She should have been arrested," said Ross.
Two identical incidents with two different results, one parent is arrested, the other is issued a citation.
"Job or shopping, the bottom line is both mothers left babies in the car in the Florida heat,' said Ross,' my way of thinking both mothers should have been arrested."
So why were they not both arrested
"That's a legal question," said John Harrell of DCF.
So it is a question we raised to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.
Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Public Information Office Melissa Bujeda issued the following response:
"Due to the child on Lenox having to be transported to the hospital due to physical health concerns due to the hot temperatures makes it a child neglect case and not just Leaving Children Unattended or Unsupervised in Motor Vehicles.
Note the citation was a criminal citation. She has to appear before a judge. It was not a traffic citation where you just pay a fine."
Victoria Baker did not respond to text nor calls for comment.
Linda Lewis, Vice President of Workforce Development at Goodwill Job Junction wrote:
"Our first impression based on appearance and how she carried herself was that she was an excellent candidate for a job. But she made a bad decision. What the public needs to know is that anyone can use our Virtual Job Junction to do a job search online for free 24 hours a day at GoodwillJax.org.'
It may be awhile before she is reunited with her one year old son, DCF plans to investigate her background and her living conditions, at that point a decision will be made, and Harrell said help might be available. Harrell said that during the past 15 years there have been 600 infant deaths in overheated vehicles; Florida ranks second in the nation.
The message he said is do not leave a young child in a car, within ten minutes the temperature can increase 20-degrees and with young children lead to heat stroke, even death.