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

Bay Area NewsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Visitors read a notice hanging on the Polk Street entrance to City Hall on Thursday, March 26, 2020, shortly after the building was closed. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
City Hall reopening to the public on June 7 after long closure due to COVID-19

San Francisco will reopen City Hall to the public on June 7… Continue reading

Many famillies have supported keeping John F. Kennedy Drive in Golden Gate Park free of car traffic. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Fight over future of JFK Drive heats up

Shamann Walton compares accessibilty issues to segregation, likens street closure to ‘1950s South’

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, pictured in March, is unveiling a series of budget proposals this week. (Al Seib/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Newsom’s school plan has billions for college savings accounts, after school programs and more

Hannah Wiley The Sacramento Bee California Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to send… Continue reading

Tara Hobson, center, principal at SF International High School, welcomes a student back on Monday, April 26, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFUSD seniors get a chance to say goodbye to school in person

Deal to briefly return older students to school leaves many parents and teens dissatisfied

Filmmaker Will J. Zang’s four-minute hybrid documentary “The Leaf” is part of CAAMFest’s Out/Here Shorts program focusing on LGBTQ+ stories. (Courtesy Will J. Zang)
Gay Chinese filmmaker Will Zang has a dilemma in ‘The Leaf’

CAAMFest screenings reflect diverse Asian and Asian-American experiences

Most Read