KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Knox County Sheriff’s Office deputies and Knoxville Police Department officers rescued a child left unattended in a vehicle at the City-County Building in downtown Knoxville Tuesday afternoon.
Deputies were first informed that a child had been left in a vehicle parked in front of the building. The deputies, were able to reach into a slightly open car window, unlock the vehicle and free the 15-month old, who was hot to the touch.
Investigators say it was sunny with a temperature of 81 at the time and all four of the car’s windows were down around two inches.
The child’s mother eventually returned to the car and said she had only left the child alone for five minutes. Investigators say the child had been in the car for around 25 minutes when deputies located him and it was another 20 minutes after that before the mother returned.
The mother, Tara Teeter, 19, was arrested and charged with leaving a child unattended in a vehicle. The child is now in safe custody.
Officials say to never leave children in hot vehicles for any amount of time. It only takes 10 minutes for the inside of a car to heat up 20 degrees and cracking the window does not help. At least 31 children died in the United States as a result of being left in hot vehicles in 2014. One child has died so far this year.