Investigation

A Conway resident is charged in a felony child endangerment case after authorities reportedly found her young child left unattended in a vehicle while outside temperatures were below freezing.

Consuelo Morales de Velasquez, 36, was formally charged Friday with first-degree endangering the welfare of a minor, a Class D felony, after authorities were alerted the woman’s young child was left in a vehicle that was not running while Morales de Velasquez was shopping in Walmart.

According to a felony probable cause affidavit, a woman who saw the minor child in the van outside the Walmart on Skyline Drive called 911 at 1:54 a.m. Friday. The woman alerted dispatchers that there was a child left in the vehicle without an adult present and said the vehicle was not running, according to court documents.

“The minor child was in a car seat next to the sliding door inside the van, the van was not running, and no one was inside or around the vehicle,” Conway officer Lois Spencer wrote in her report. “The child had on a jacket and had a blanket on, but the blanket was down around her waist.”

The outside temperature was 26 degrees at the time, according to the affidavit.

As officers headed inside to find the owner of the vehicle, the child’s mother walked outside.

Morales de Velasquez admitted to leaving her daughter in the vehicle, saying that her child “had problems with her head and suffers from seizures,” which makes it difficult for the child to sleep.

The 36-year-old woman told officer Joseph Manno that she decided to leave her daughter in the vehicle while she went shopping because her child had fallen asleep.

“Further, Consuelo stated that the child has been having sleeping issues and at the time of her arrival, the child was sleeping and she wanted to leave her be,” Manno wrote in his report. “Consuelo also went into detail regarding the child’s health. She stated that the child has epilepsy and issues with her brain. She informed me because of the child’s health issues, it is hard for her to sleep.”

Authorities sought a felony charge in the case because the child has special needs that require medical condition and was left unattended while outside temperatures were below freezing, according to the affidavit filed Friday in Faulkner County Circuit Court.

“Since the girl was left in the vehicle unattended in freezing cold weather and suffers from medical conditions, Velasquez was placed under arrest for endangering the welfare of a minor in the first degree,” the affidavit reads in part.

The girl’s father was able to pick up the child on scene, according to reports.

Staff writer Marisa Hicks can be reached at mhicks@thecabin.net.

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