Woman charged with leaving children in car speaks out Ken Amaro, First Coast News
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- On July 23, Betty Brunson, the parent of a child with down syndrome, became breaking news. It has haunted her ever since.
"To be honest I don't remember the date because I try not to remember that day," she said.
Brunson, 23, said the social media she loves and uses have become a constant reminder, the posts and the comments have been ugly.
"They portray me to be this monster," said Brunson," which I am not. Brunson was arrested on child neglect charges, she has no prior criminal history.
Brunson had left her child, her niece and godchildren, five in all, in a car, in 92 degree weather for a few minutes.
"I rolled down all the windows six inches, locked the car, the kids were hydrated and everything," she said, "It wasn't like I willfully neglected them."
She said she went to an Office Depot to make copies of her resume for an upcoming job interview.
"My reason wasn't to go into the store to go shopping, to go to talk, to go look at gadgets, it was simply to make a copy of my resume and get back out," she said.
Brunson said being a parent of a disabled child has made her more sensitive to children and their needs.
"I did not neglect them," said Brunson, "that's not what I stand for, that's not what I do."
She said she even has a support group for parents of children with down syndrome. Brunson said what happened was not willful and she should have been given a citation and not arrested.
"They wanted to make an example out of someone but they didn't make an example out of the correct person," she said, "make an example out of someone who actually neglect kids and hurt kids make an example out of them."
Brunson said she was in the store 12 minutes and if she had those 12 minutes back, she would have done things differently.
She said the irony is leaving kids in hot cars goes against her conviction.
"I don't agree with no one leaving a child in the hot car,' she said.
Brunson said she know that this will follow her all the days of her life.
"I'm going to have to deal with it," she said," I just wanted to have a voice for people not to judge me for what was portray on the news."
Brunson will be in court sometime in August.