Mother arrested for locking child inside hot car

A Burlingame woman was arraigned in San Mateo County Superior Court Friday on felony child endangerment charges after allegedly leaving her 2-year-old son inside her car in sweltering heat, San Mateo County Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

According to the District Attorney's Office, on Thursday afternoon temperatures were in the low 90s when Barbara Stepaniuk, 32, stopped at a Redwood City grocery store and left her child strapped in the car seat in the parking lot, with only one window open two inches.

After about 20 minutes, passersby heard the child crying and called police, according to Wagstaffe.

Before firefighters arrived, one person was somehow able to reach inside the window and unlock the door, Wagstaffe said.

The child was determined to be unhurt, but minutes after the door was opened, police measured the temperature inside the car at 125 degrees, according to Wagstaffe.

On Friday, Stepaniuk pleaded not guilty to the charges. She remains in custody on $50,000 bail and is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday afternoon for a review conference.

Though the maximum sentence for felony child endangerment is six years in prison, Wagstaffe said today his office will likely seek a lesser sentence.

— Bay City News

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