‘My heart broke’ 2-year-old toddlers left alone in unlocked car in Chesterfield parking lot

Posted at 9:57 AM, Jul 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-20 09:57:25-04

CHESTERFIELD, Va., – Chesterfield Police are investigating after two children were left in an unlocked, running vehicle on one of the hottest days of the year, according to WTVR.

Police were called to the parking lot of the Walmart at Hancock Village on Hancock Village Street just before noon Friday.

Brandy Andrews said she first heard a passerby frantically yelling for help while pulling into the shopping center.

“She was screaming, ‘There’s babies in the car, there’s babies in the car!” Andrews told WTVR.

Andrews said she could see two young boys, who appeared to be less than two years old, buckled in the backseat.

“There’s a heat advisory today and the car is parked in the sun,” she said. “They’re not in a shaded area and you can see them visible in the window crying.”

Friday afternoon, high temperatures reached in the upper 90s.  A heat advisory was in effect for much of central and eastern Virginia, which means the heat index rose to 105 degrees or hotter.

"They're sitting unattended and forward-facing at their age," Andrews said. "My heart broke."

Photos taken by witnesses show good Samaritans holding the boys until police arrived. One photo showed a purse was also left in the front passenger seat.

Bystanders estimated it took approximately 15 to 20 minutes for the boys' caregiver to arrive at the car after shopping.

"A woman appeared, not in distress, very nonchalant and didn't understand what was going on," Andrews said.

Andrews, who has three children of her own, feared the "what-ifs" in the Walmart parking lot.

"The purse that was left in the front seat -- what if someone sees that and decides to jump in the car? The car was unlocked and I got into it without any problem. All I had to do was open the door," she said.

Witnesses said paramedics checked the children out at the scene, and Chesterfield Police said the boys are OK. There is no word if anyone has been charged.