A toddler was recovered from a locked car in lethargic condition and unable to speak after a passerby at a Long Island shopping center parking lot noticed the little girl alone in the vehicle, police say.
Police were called to the parking lot of the Big H Shopping Center in Huntington Thursday afternoon after someone called to report seeing a girl locked in a 2000 Nissan Frontier with its windows closed.
Responding officers broke the car window and removed the girl from the car.
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"When we got in through the window, it was a very, very hot blast of heat," said Officer Aaron Klein. The toddler was "beet red, drips of sweat coming off her face, and she looked to be in pain."
He estimated the temperature was above 120 degrees.
"I can speak for myself, it was beyond hot in that car," Klein added.
Klein's partner, Officer Derek Mangi, said it was "very upsetting holding her and feeling how hot she was. It was scary."
The toddler was taken to Huntington Hospital with heat exhaustion. She is expected to be OK and and was to be released to her mother, police said.
The girl's 30-year-old father, Melvin Marroquin of Maryland, returned to the vehicle about 10 minutes after officers arrived and told police he had been shopping at a Marshalls store.
"He told me intially he forgot," said Mangi. "I don't know how anyone could have forgot."
The father eventually admitted he'd left his daughter in the car for about 25 minutes, according to the officers.
Marroquin, who was arrested on charges of child endangerment and reckless endangerment, pleaded not guilty. His attorney said the father didn't realize his daughter was in the car.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it takes just 10 minutes for the temperature inside a locked car to go up 20 degrees.