Mom Leaves Son, 12, In Car Half an Hour. She’s Arrested, Jailed, Can Only See Him When Supervised

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A mom in Albuquerque had her 12-year-old and their dog wait in the car, sun roof open, while she hit the gym for half an hour. The gym manager called the cops to report a “child” and dog locked in the car, and the police came zooming.

The fact that the “child” is 12 didn’t matter to the cops. The fact that he told them he normally reads or naps during these waits doesn’t seem to have mattered either. Apparently the cops took the mom to jail, and apparently she was kept there for two days, because KOB reports she was arrested on a Monday night and appeared before the judge on Weds:

Court documents say the boy’s mother told the manager she had left her son in the car before and she didn’t appear to be worried about it. But she’s now in trouble with the law.

The mom, 33-year-old Lucila Gonzalez, appeared before a judge on the charge Wednesday. The judge allowed her to be around her son as long as the boy’s father is also there, then allowed her to be released on bond.

Got that? She can only visit the “victim” — her son — so long as her husband is present.

Now, there are some circumstances people may bring up as “proof” that this mom deserved what she got. For instance, she was driving with a suspended license.

However, the cops did not know this when they raced over to get her.

Also, her son could not immediately open the door when the cops wanted to question him. The mom needed to get her keys. It is dumb to lock someone into a car, even if the sun roof is open.

All in all, this sounds like a case where, if the cops had to intervene at all, they could tell her not to lock her son in. And they could also reprimand or charge her for driving with a suspended license. But that was not the crime they charged her with. KOB said she “faces a felony child abuse charge for leaving her 12-year-old son inside her car while she worked out at the gym.”

Frankly, if you have a mom whose license is suspended, do you think you’re safer when she’s driving or when the car is parked?

The problem is that we have become so convinced that anytime a person under the age of 100 is alone in a parked car they are immediately going to die. So strangers call the cops and cops arrest normal, non-abusive, non-negligent parents. This is why we need the Free-Range Bill of Rights: Kids have the right to some unsupervised time! We should not be required by law to supervise them every single second, even at age 12!

I wish Lucila good luck. I also hope she does whatever it takes to get her license unsuspended. — L

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woman working out 2

Even 12-year-olds can’t wait in the car while moms work out. 

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86 Responses to Mom Leaves Son, 12, In Car Half an Hour. She’s Arrested, Jailed, Can Only See Him When Supervised

  1. BL April 12, 2016 at 3:06 pm #

    “faces a felony child abuse charge”

    Is everything a felony these days? When was the last time a law was passed making something a misdemeanor? 1885 maybe?

  2. James Pollock April 12, 2016 at 3:43 pm #

    On the one hand, Albuquerque is in the “hot zone”. On the other hand, 12. On the other, other hand, last name that ends with a “z”.

  3. James O. April 12, 2016 at 3:46 pm #

    When I was twelve I would have been so offended that I was being treated as if I was so incompetent, incapable and helpless. Not only should parents not be treated like this, but give kids some credit as functional human beings.

  4. Brooks April 12, 2016 at 3:46 pm #

    So, if the kid was sitting on the curb, no problem, right?

    And BL is correct. There are too many laws. Way too many.

  5. Diane April 12, 2016 at 4:04 pm #

    This is ridiculous. But about those locked doors, are there some cars that cannot be unlocked from the inside without the keys? Did the pre-teen not know how, or did he just assume he couldn’t if the alarm would go off?
    Whatever the case, a little teachable moment for the mother and 12 yr old would have been more effective to keep the kid safe in the future. 12 is plenty old to be alone in a car.

  6. LisaS April 12, 2016 at 4:23 pm #

    dare I ask the question? why not leave the 12-year-old at home with the dog and have a leisurely workout without thinking about them?

  7. Suleymania April 12, 2016 at 4:25 pm #

    I looked up what the law says about these matters in California:

    “A parent, legal guardian, or other person responsible for a child who is 6 years of age or younger may not leave that child inside a motor vehicle without being subject to the supervision of a person who is 12 years of age or older, under either of the following circumstances: (1) Where there are conditions that present a significant risk to the child’s health or safety. (2) When the vehicle’s engine is running or the vehicle’s keys are in the ignition, or both.”

    So it looks as if my 6yo will be able to stay in the car starting in a few months, and that he actually could now on a cool day. Or am I being naive in assuming that actual laws on the books are more relevant than what bystanders, police, and judges assume to be the law or accepted practices?

  8. lollipoplover April 12, 2016 at 4:33 pm #

    Do any of your middle schoolers go to the gym?
    My oldest has belonged since he was 13, which requires him to ride his bike and cross a highway. He is not required to have an adult with him. He’s 14 now and played basketball or lifted weights for hours after school

    Yet if he was 12 and sat in a car…it’s felony child abuse?
    When did 12 become the new toddler age?
    What magically happens at 13 that kids (at least our gym) can go in a gym and work out but a year before could be busted for sitting, just sitting, inside a car?
    What if I left my husband in the car? Or my Mother-in-law? Is that abuse too?

  9. ama April 12, 2016 at 4:51 pm #

    My daughter is just shy of 8 yrs and is in 2nd grade. She asks to stay in the car alone when I have a quick errand at the store. We’re in CA so by law I could leave her in the car however I’m too scared. I’ve already been told by an officer that my daughter is too young to be crossing the street (a quiet residential area, with cross walk, in front of her school) and waiting alone for me to pick her up. “She could be snatched” and “she’s too little” is what I was told.

  10. Teri April 12, 2016 at 5:01 pm #

    And, I guess if the 12 year old had, on his own accord, gone outside to sit in the car and read, mom would still be neglectful. This is stupid on every level. Mine preferred at that age to sit out in the car vs. a waiting room at docs appts, quick runs into the grocery store, pharmacy, bank, or post office etc. I had no issues with it. Heck, in some places (bank), she was probably safer in the car vs. potentially inside the bank during a robbery. Then, there is the whole dodging cars in the parking lot bit.

  11. KB April 12, 2016 at 5:04 pm #

    This is insane.

  12. Claudia Grant April 12, 2016 at 5:24 pm #

    I just simply don’t understand this. My grandparents and mother would have gone to jail if they had me these days. I grew up as what you call now free range. We all did. Most of the times our parents and grandparents had no idea where we were at or what we did. It was time to come home when it was dark and that was an unbreakable rule. I had skinned knee skin elbows and everything else in between. I even broke my arm. I survived and doing well. Children need the freedom to grow and not being watched every second. What kind of generation is being raised these days. Children that grow up into adults and don’t know how to handle anything. I knew very early in life that there are bad people out there and just stay away from them. I would have never gone with anybody I didn’t know. And so did every other child in the neighborhood. You don’t keep bad things away from them you let them know. They will understand and act accordingly. Children are not stupid. I come to the conclusion, that my group of friends I was very lucky to grow up the way we did. I feel sorry for kids these days.

  13. Donald April 12, 2016 at 5:25 pm #

    This world seems hell bent on drumming into children:

    You’re frail and helpless. You’re frail and helpless. You’re frail and helpless. You’re frail and helpless. You’re frail and helpless. You’re frail and helpless. You’re frail and helpless. You’re frail and helpless.

    The mind helps to shape the world you live in. This knowledge is becoming mainstream and is mostly associated with success books. The bottom line is, the mind influences the shape of your world. The trouble is, these ‘special powers’ work whether you want them to or not. They work whether you believe in them or not. They help to bring you good things. (if that’s what you’re focusing on) They help to bring you shitty things. (if that’s what you’re focusing on) They help to bring you ‘victim situations’ if you keep focusing on what a victim you are.

    This poor boy MUST be a victim. The judge stated so. It also made headline news. In fact he’s such a victim that we shouldn’t even allow his mother to visit without supervision! This is a ‘VICTIM’ episode that he will remember for life.

  14. JR April 12, 2016 at 5:38 pm #

    In four years, he will be old enough to DRIVE the car.

    In two years after that, he’ll be old enough to drive the car to buy cigarettes, lottery tickets, long guns, tattoos, and sign up for the armed forces.

    Damn. That’s a lot of growing up to do in just six years. Good luck, kid.

  15. Julie April 12, 2016 at 5:44 pm #

    I was BABYSITTING a one year old when I was 12. I was an AUNT to a 4 year old whom I would care for as well! This is so wrong. What about kids who fly on planes without their parent, will that become a federal offense now as well? Everything is NOT a danger. At what age do we allow our kids independence?

  16. Beth April 12, 2016 at 6:02 pm #

    As Lenore has pointed out in the past, it’s SO much better for kids and families when one parent is in jail, followed by felony charges and legal problems hanging over their heads.

  17. Diane April 12, 2016 at 6:36 pm #

    LisaS I figure they may have been going to the gym on the way home from somewhere. My gym is a 15 min drive in light traffic, a 35 min drive around 5 pm. Maybe it wasn’t convenient to drive him all the way home and then drive to the gym; just speculating, of course.

  18. Opal April 12, 2016 at 7:55 pm #

    Not to be a buzzkill, as I agree this shouldn’t be a felony, but I do spot an actionable safety problem (similar to the use of bicycle helmets): the young man could not get out of the car. I’m still waving the free-range flag, but leaving anyone (minor, adult, geriatric) in a vehicle that they cannot exit under their own power seems dumb to me. This woman should’ve been cited for an expired license and told not to literally lock her son (and dog) in the car. If she did it again, then yes, this is an issue-she locked her son into a car, although I assume he could’ve climbed out of the sunroof, but really?

  19. Beth April 12, 2016 at 8:36 pm #

    I’m confused about why he couldn’t get out of the car, and I’m not sure child safety locks is a good explanation. Anyone?

  20. ann April 12, 2016 at 9:05 pm #

    This is why the mother was arrested: ““(The boy) also informed deputies that sometimes he gets nervous about being in the vehicle alone because of all of the people that walk near the vehicle,” the deputy wrote in the complaint.”

    THE BOY IS NOT COMFORTABLE IN THE CAR ALONE!!!! This is not free-range parenting, it’s disregarding the feelings of your child.

    I love how there is always a chunk of info omitted from these stories.

  21. SKL April 12, 2016 at 9:19 pm #

    I know it’s crazy, but a 14yo girl died because she could not get out of a locked car. Huge design flaw to make a car that you can’t open from the inside.

    I think at age 12, the question needs to be, did anyone actually get hurt? I mean, there are 12yo children with developmental disabilities who should not be left alone. There are some parents who do neglect and endanger children that old. So, was the boy OK? Healthy, unharmed, well-cared for generally? Yes? Then that’s the end of the discussion.

  22. diane April 12, 2016 at 9:20 pm #

    At 12 yrs old, maybe he needs more practice so he can GET comfortable being left in the car alone. Still not a felony. My 1 yr old hates waking up in his crib and not getting picked up right away if I’m in the shower. He screams away, and sometimes has to wait like, 7-10 minutes. He’s uncomfortable. He might possibly feel unsafe, I don’t know. Not a crime.
    He should not be locked in, although I’m wondering if he was uncomfortable, if he was the one who did the locking to feel safer.

  23. SKL April 12, 2016 at 9:27 pm #

    I do think a half hour is an annoying amount of time to be regularly left in a car. When I hear stuff like that it makes me feel like the adult is kind of self-centered. It’s not a crime to be self-centered, but it does sometimes correlate with neglect.

    Then again, there have been plenty of times when I’ve sat in a car for longer than that, working, while my kids are doing some activity. The difference being it is my choice, and if I don’t like it I can get out and take a walk or drive somewhere for a coffee or whatever.

  24. Byron Shutt April 12, 2016 at 9:49 pm #

    The stuff I did at 12 would have my Mom and me locked up. I wasn’t destructive but I was all over the place and would NOT of fit in with this PC world. I am independent, self reliant and responsible for my family and myself a somewhat risky boyhood taught me how……and years of playing hockey.

  25. En Passant April 12, 2016 at 11:41 pm #

    Ye gods and little fishes!

    When I was 12 I greased and changed the oil in the family car every 3000 miles. I jacked each wheel off the ground with a hand jack, crawled under the car with a hand pumped grease gun, found the grease fittings and pumped in the grease. I opened the oil pan drain, drained the oil, replaced it, then poured in 5 quarts.

    My father’s view was that if I was going to be driving the car in a year or two, I should first learn how to maintain it. He taught me how to do it (safely, setting the brakes before jacking the wheel off the ground, etc.)

    I also knew kids who were driving tractors plowing fields at age 12.

    Somehow we managed to survive those grave dangers.

    If today’s idiotic interpretations of law applied back then, every parent in the county would have been in prison for child neglect or abuse.

  26. Andrew Jones April 12, 2016 at 11:56 pm #

    Ann, regarding your comment:

    ““(The boy) also informed deputies that sometimes he gets nervous about being in the vehicle alone because of all of the people that walk near the vehicle,” the deputy wrote in the complaint.”

    THE BOY IS NOT COMFORTABLE IN THE CAR ALONE!!!! This is not free-range parenting, it’s disregarding the feelings of your child.

    Hmm….why would developmentally normal child of 12 worry about the people walking by a vehicle while he is safely inside a locked metal box?

    Oh, wait….could it be because the state, the police and a sizable chunk of the population have made it their apparently God-given duty to terrify every single American child in existence into believing that not only is every single person that they don’t know is going to kidnap them, molest them, and then murder them if they are not under the watchful eye of a completely paranoid parent at all times? So, who’s causing the problem here, the parent, trying to do the right thing, and also trying to un-brainwash her child, or the state, that’s causing those feelings in the first place. As a parent, you have to *consider* the feelings of a child, but you are not obliged to give in to them. (That’s helicopter parent logic – that your child’s every whim and every feeling is of huge importance and must never, ever be denied, even if it’s wrong)

  27. J.T. Wenting April 13, 2016 at 12:43 am #

    “Is everything a felony these days?”

    If it’s a felony, your 2nd ammendment rights get automatically taken away. And your right to vote.
    That’s why everything’s a felony these days, it’s used to restrict peoples’ civil rights.

    “dare I ask the question? why not leave the 12-year-old at home with the dog and have a leisurely workout without thinking about them?”

    Indeed. The penalty here is the problem, not the fact that they acted when the idiot took her child to the gym, then locked him/her in the car and went to have a good time.
    What’s next, lock the child in the car while you’re going to the movies, or tro have a nice night on the town?

    “I’m confused about why he couldn’t get out of the car, and I’m not sure child safety locks is a good explanation. Anyone?”

    There are more than a few cars now where when the remote control locks the car doors the locks can’t be opened in any way except by the remote control (or a crowbar of course).

  28. James Pollock April 13, 2016 at 3:16 am #

    “If it’s a felony, your 2nd ammendment rights get automatically taken away. And your right to vote.”

    Actually, only a few states still disenfranchise felons.
    I mean, all but one disallow voting by persons in the state’s custody when the election is held, but most either automatically restore the right to vote to felons when they complete their sentences, or allow felons to petition for their voting rights back.

  29. Bob Davis April 13, 2016 at 5:14 am #

    If the child in this case has to be locked in the car, and cannot open the door, was the mother afraid that he would get out of the car and get into trouble? Does the child have some kind of developmental disability or behavior problem? For a bit of “worst first” thinking, suppose the car caught on fire (fuel system or electrical failure) And why was the mother’s license suspended? Reckless driving? DUI? or just didn’t have enough money to pay a parking ticket or traffic infraction fine. But poor judgement with no harm done should not be a felony.

    I read the Streetsblog websites, which are devoted to non-automotive transport. The people who post on that would remind everyone that driving is a privilege, and not a Constitutional right.

  30. BL April 13, 2016 at 5:52 am #

    The 12-year-old should just call the car his “safe space”. Problem solved.

  31. Alex April 13, 2016 at 6:33 am #

    My mother was pretty protective, but I think even she had left me in cars for several minutes when I was as young or almost as young as that kid. In fact oftentimes the only reason I wasn’t left in the car as a young teen is because I found the car too boring and would rather just go inside. I think she would’ve been happy to leave me inside the car more often.

    Are you sure this is a real story? Good grief.

  32. Donna April 13, 2016 at 7:11 am #

    “This is why the mother was arrested: ““(The boy) also informed deputies that sometimes he gets nervous about being in the vehicle alone because of all of the people that walk near the vehicle,” the deputy wrote in the complaint.”

    THE BOY IS NOT COMFORTABLE IN THE CAR ALONE!!!! This is not free-range parenting, it’s disregarding the feelings of your child.”

    Sure, if the boy actually stated of his own accord “I sometimes get nervous being alone in the car because of all the people, but my mom makes me stay there anyway. I hate it.”

    However, the more likely scenario is that the cop badgered the boy until he “admitted” that sometimes he gets nervous in the car – probably has happened at least once although not nervous enough to make him not want to do it. Or that this is a common breed of tween boy – uncommunicative with adults – or a shy boy who was intimidated by all the focus and he simply acquiesced to whatever the officer stated. Grown adults consistently “confess” to things they never did due to police interrogation and it is certainly possible for a 12 year old to do the same. And cops often do not treat their victims any better than they do their suspects. They want to make a case and damn it this victim is not going to get in the way by stating the truth.

  33. Buffy April 13, 2016 at 7:35 am #

    “This is why the mother was arrested: ““(The boy) also informed deputies that sometimes he gets nervous about being in the vehicle alone because of all of the people that walk near the vehicle,” the deputy wrote in the complaint.”

    THE BOY IS NOT COMFORTABLE IN THE CAR ALONE!!!! This is not free-range parenting, it’s disregarding the feelings of your child.”

    Which is not, and should never be, a crime..much less a felony. At least for us bad parents who aren’t nearly as perfect as you. I disregard my kids feelings all the time – when they don’t want to eat their vegetables, when they’re begging for a ride to school instead of walking, when I don’t let them use my iPad. Better call the cops!!

  34. BL April 13, 2016 at 7:41 am #

    @Buffy
    “Which is not, and should never be, a crime..much less a felony.”

    Shouldn’t be.

    But a couple blog postings back we had an adult commenter who was ordered not to fly an RC helicopter (so ironic!) because it made another adult (with children in tow) “nervous”, in a venue where flying such things was specifically permitted by local ordinance.

    So feelings are the new law. What could go wrong?

  35. Tim April 13, 2016 at 7:57 am #

    Considering how many people the Albuquerque police kill, it might seem like this isn’t that serious an issue for the community. But it is. If they get away with this, they will keep overstepping their bounds. I hope she gets plenty of support from the community and local press.

  36. Donna April 13, 2016 at 8:02 am #

    Did the mother lock the door or did the boy? Did the mother know that the doors could not unlock without the key? This post has made me wonder if my car can be unlocked from the inside if my key is not in range (keyless ignition). I have no idea as I have never been somehow locked inside my car with the key in the house. Something I need to try.

    If she did know, this was a dumb move. Nobody – adult or child – should be locked in a car that they can’t get out of on their own accord. Locking a car seat bound toddler in a car for a few minutes while you run to pay for gas is fine (although I still have no idea why people lock their doors when they do this at all), but not for a workout at the gym. if he is going to be left for an extended period of time, the child needs to be able to get out of the car if he gets uncomfortably warm/cold or some emergency happens.

    But being dumb doesn’t need to equal a felony. I agree with SKL that this scenario strikes me as possibly showing a level of selfishness that may indicate wider neglect. Most likely it amounts to nothing more than bad luck of the draw in the parent department and nothing more actionable or sinister. Arrest based solely on this one incident is definitely uncalled for.

  37. Roger the Shrubber April 13, 2016 at 8:22 am #

    dare I ask the question? why not leave the 12-year-old at home with the dog and have a leisurely workout without thinking about them?

    Don’t dare to ask the question. No one has the duty to justify their perfectly legal actions to you.

  38. Donna April 13, 2016 at 8:30 am #

    “Which is not, and should never be, a crime..much less a felony. At least for us bad parents who aren’t nearly as perfect as you. I disregard my kids feelings all the time – when they don’t want to eat their vegetables, when they’re begging for a ride to school instead of walking, when I don’t let them use my iPad. Better call the cops!!”

    I don’t think this is an apt comparison. I disregard my kid’s feelings all the time for things that benefit my child (eating her vegetables) or simply amount to desires on her part (playing with my phone). I tend not to disregard her fears unless necessary. Forcing your child to continue to engage in an activity that makes them genuinely frightened and provides them no benefit whatsoever for your own selfish interests is pretty bad parenting.

    I am opposed to charging parents with crimes for being bad, but not abusive, parents, but would not be opposed to parenting classes or counseling if that is what is really occurring. I just don’t necessarily believe that is what is really occurring. I think it is more likely that the cop got the boy to agree to sometimes being nervous in order to make a case against the mother. “Sometimes nervous” is not a strong statement of dislike. Even if he is genuinely fearful of being left in the car, there is no indication whatsoever that he told his mother this and she disregarded his feelings. Nowhere did the report say “the mother admitted to knowing her son was nervous staying the car alone, but said it didn’t matter to her.” Again, tween boys are not always great at expressing their feelings and this may have been the first time mom heard that this made him uncomfortable and now that she knows, she will never do it again.

  39. GoogleMaster April 13, 2016 at 8:40 am #

    @Donna: Why it’s a good idea to lock your car doors while pumping and paying for gas: http://www.snopes.com/crime/warnings/sliders.asp. We had a rash of these thefts in my area a few years ago. Thank the news media for giving more copycat thieves the idea, I guess.

  40. E April 13, 2016 at 8:55 am #

    So the police responded to a call about a child ‘in danger’. You can’t put that on the police because that’s what they are dispatched to do — check on a person. So what that they didn’t know she was driving w/o a license. Do you expect them to ignore a child safety call?

    The rest gets into that murky area. Why didn’t the kid know how to get out? Why did she have to be charged with a felony?

    I do have sympathy for her, but I’d feel a lot more sympathy if she’d decided to drive w/o a license to get the kid to school or pick up groceries…not get her work out on.

    YES — bad judgement doesn’t equate a felony.

  41. pentamom April 13, 2016 at 8:57 am #

    I don’t think child safety locks works as an explanation, because don’t those usually only apply to the back doors? A twelve year old would know how to climbvover and open the front door if he needed to.

    I always thought those things were dumb. Yes, there are some kids who have issues who may need them — so get them installed aftermarket. I know social services has cars with that feature because they actually do transport people who are potential “jumpers.” Typical kids who are young enough not to know better can’t unlock cars while strapped into car seats — it would only be older kids with various issues for whom it would be a problem. If that’s your kid, get them. Otherwise, they seem unnecessary as standard equipment.

  42. E April 13, 2016 at 9:02 am #

    Nevermind to what I wrote about lol.

    Found this in a follow up article:

    “And hello, Alarid said the boy was equipped with a cellphone to call his mother should he need to get out of the car, he said. A cellphone was never mentioned in the complaint.

    The boy is not special needs and is slight for his age, he said.

    Also according to the complaint, the boy said he sometimes gets scared when people walk near the vehicle. But my motherly instincts cause me to wonder whether his mom was more scared to leave him home in what can generously be called a low-budget, 70-acre mobile home park than in the relative tranquility of a car parked within her view in a tiny, shiny new strip mall replete with Sushi King and Dion’s.

    The family’s tidy, pink single-wide may be two miles from the gym, but it seems worlds away – and not necessarily a world where some moms might feel safe to leave their kids home alone, even for an hour. Days before Christmas, an 18-year-old was shot dead in the street here and a 17-year-old was wounded when a game of beer pong turned deadly.

    This week, an arrest was made in a homicide that happened here last summer when warring gangs came to blows.”

    http://www.abqjournal.com/756030/news/neglectful-mother-or-doting-mom.html

  43. Craig April 13, 2016 at 11:26 am #

    Future Admiral David Farragut was given his first command when he was given command of a captured British waling ship and sailed it to port,at the age of 12.

    Although I am not a fan, Thomas Edison was printing and selling his newspaper the Grand Trunk Herald on trains at the age of 12

    You will notice how people like these police will commit any number of absurdities, without question because it is “Their job”. Why didn’t they just use some common sense and talk to the kid, see he wasn’t bleeding out the eyes and leave. People and will often even go so far as to carry out psychopathic instructions, all to protect the sacred paycheck.

  44. Julia April 13, 2016 at 12:40 pm #

    In less than 4 years, he will be driving.
    Driving. In less than 4 years

    DRIVING.

    “You are as delicate as ice cream, child.”
    “You must be protected for any level of physical or emotional discomfort.”

    LESS THAN 4 years.

    “Here’s the keys. Keep it under 80 on the freeway.”

  45. Vaughan Evans April 13, 2016 at 1:13 pm #

    Why couldn’t the boy have been to sit quietly-in the glub lounger?

  46. Craig April 13, 2016 at 1:26 pm #

    At 12 a good friend had the job on the farm to drive a 5 ton truck full of wheat to the local elevator, that had STANDARD steering and brakes and a 4-speed manual transmission with a mechanical clutch, and would wait in line at the elevator with other trucks on a ramp.

    I will never raise my kids in North America.

  47. Reziac April 13, 2016 at 1:32 pm #

    Cripes, my mom was borderline-overprotective in our day, and now she’d be considered some sort of radical child neglecter. 13 is the new toddler; 26 is the new teenager. The day is coming when if you’re alive at all, you’re legally a baby.

    Oh wait, according to the government — too late!

  48. John April 13, 2016 at 1:34 pm #

    From reading the above, I’d say there was a definite over reaction to all this by both the police and the courts. Now if she locked her son in the car so he couldn’t get out, then yes, that may be cause for concern. Same with driving with a suspended license. But I’m a little confused here, how could the kid not get out of the car? As far as my experience goes with car security systems, you cannot get into a locked car without a key but you should be able to get out of a locked car. Perhaps she turned on the child proof locks? Regardless, I don’t think there was any reason for the mother to have to sit in jail for a couple of days and I also think it was an over reaction to require her to have supervision anytime she’s around her son and to possibly charge her with felony child abuse.

    The problem is, we compare this to cases like that of little 8-year-old Gabriel out in Los Angeles who was pepper sprayed by his mom and her boyfriend, forced to eat his vomit and subsequently beaten to death by the very people entrusted to his care. So we go into a prevention mode and over react. This mom was obviously not even close to doing anything like that but yet they treated her as if she might be a ticking time bomb!

    I really believe the system has to change here when evaluating possible “child abuse” cases. Let’s prioritize instead!

  49. Reziac April 13, 2016 at 1:35 pm #

    Craig, come to anywhere in the farming midwest, you’ll still find 12YOs driving farm machinery and being responsible for running their part of the farm, including that trip to the nearest elevator.

    Don’t judge the rest of us by the worst idiots — that’s the same mistake today’s crazy laws make.

  50. Craig April 13, 2016 at 1:52 pm #

    @Reziak

    That is good to know. I think it would make great stories for people (I won’t say journalists because they would be afraid to do it) to go out and tell the stories of kids and families like those that you describe, who raise intelligent, aware, mature, empowered and effective kids. I’m sure stories like these, if they were to be published in mainstream sources, would raise pre-programmed cries of ‘abuse’ in the victim culture.

  51. James Pollock April 13, 2016 at 1:56 pm #

    “I also think it was an over reaction to require her to have supervision anytime she’s around her son”

    So, you think people charged with child abuse or neglect should be allowed unsupervised access to their alleged victims?

  52. Donna April 13, 2016 at 2:02 pm #

    “Why it’s a good idea to lock your car doors while pumping and paying for gas: http://www.snopes.com/crime/warnings/sliders.asp. We had a rash of these thefts in my area a few years ago.”

    Which explains why you might want to take your purse with you when you go pay for gas. It does not explain why you would need to lock your child in the car while you run to pay for gas.

  53. Donna April 13, 2016 at 2:07 pm #

    “And hello, Alarid said the boy was equipped with a cellphone to call his mother should he need to get out of the car, he said. A cellphone was never mentioned in the complaint.”

    This does not necessarily make me think that the mother is less dumb. In an emergency, relying on the boy to be able to call the mother and the mother to hear the phone in the gym seems ridiculous. Just leave the damn door unlocked.

  54. Michael April 13, 2016 at 2:11 pm #

    A mother without a valid driving licence drives to a gym and leaves a 12 year old alone in a car who is obviously uncomfortable being there and the child does not have the ability to open the door and exit in case of an emergency. Yet, this is supposedly a free-range champion to be defended? With a plethora of stupid decisions and circumstances somehow this woman made the one perfectly logical choice in the best interest of her child?

    Surely there are better examples of stupidity in the world to bring to attention. This is just the thing that fuels the “free-range is lazy uncaring fend for yourself parenting” narrative. Unless of course the free-range battle is won once and for all and questionable causes are all that is left top fight for?

  55. lollipoplover April 13, 2016 at 2:16 pm #

    “So, you think people charged with child abuse or neglect should be allowed unsupervised access to their alleged victims?”

    It happens every day in our court system. It’s called custody. Children who have been abused are often placed with the very person who abused them. I know children who went through this and now they are orphans, and the monster who did this had shared custody despite years of reports from babysitters (who were promptly fired), schools, and family members of frequent and violent beatings including choking children!
    Courts grant abusers access to their victims ALL the time. It’s horrifying.
    And a 12 year-old who sits in a car…is a victim of abuse.
    We have lost all reason and logic when it comes to protecting children from real and present danger, often their own family members.

    http://abusersgettingcustody.blogspot.com/

  56. Papilio April 13, 2016 at 2:27 pm #

    If people are walking around ‘your’ car and looking for excuses to get your mom arrested, wouldn’t any kid be nervous…?

    “why not leave the 12-year-old at home” That’s what I thought… I get leaving the kid in the car and stopping on the way home for groceries or some necessity, but going to gym falls into a different category for me. But, whatever, if this was the way everything fits their schedule then that’s their business.
    The bigger, because legal, problem is driving without a license…

  57. TM April 13, 2016 at 2:56 pm #

    @ann

    And when I was younger, “bought a BB gun without parent’s knowledge” and “sometimes get angry at parents” became “purchased a firearm and was planning on killing my parents because I was angry at them” after it got filtered through the “adults” in the room. Kids answer a lot of questions honestly because they aren’t yet smart enough to or jaded enough to know “shut up and lawyer up” and those answers are often twisted by the perverted fantasies of the authorities in question, especially when they’re looking for an excuse to punish someone.

  58. Roger the Shrubber April 13, 2016 at 3:16 pm #

    “So, you think people charged with child abuse or neglect should be allowed unsupervised access to their alleged victims?”

    Troll harder, Master Pollock.

  59. SKL April 13, 2016 at 3:33 pm #

    Regarding the suspended license.

    I have a friend (an upstanding citizen by the way) who had her license suspended multiple times for having a lead foot. When your license is suspended, there are exceptions for stuff like driving to work, taking care of your kids, health stuff. Maybe workouts aren’t specifically included, but so what if you stop there on the way home from work or from picking up your kid?

    Point being, driving with a suspended license doesn’t necessarily mean this mom is a hardened criminal.

  60. James Pollock April 13, 2016 at 3:44 pm #

    It happens every day in our court system. It’s called custody. Children who have been abused are often placed with the very person who abused them. I know children who went through this and now they are orphans, and the monster who did this had shared custody despite years of reports from babysitters (who were promptly fired), schools, and family members of frequent and violent beatings including choking children!
    Courts grant abusers access to their victims ALL the time. It’s horrifying.

    I’ll repeat the question, because you seem to have misunderstood it.
    So, you think people charged with child abuse or neglect should be allowed unsupervised access to their alleged victims?

  61. Donna April 13, 2016 at 3:44 pm #

    “A mother without a valid driving licence drives to a gym and leaves a 12 year old alone in a car who is obviously uncomfortable being there”

    No, he at worst, told the police that he is sometimes nervous staying in the car. He didn’t say he was nervous all the time or nervous this time or nervous in this place. Or that he has ever told his mother he is nervous. Or that he has ever asked not to be left in the car. Just that sometimes he is nervous when he is in the car alone.

    “With a plethora of stupid decisions and circumstances somehow this woman made the one perfectly logical choice in the best interest of her child?”

    Nope, but I didn’t realize that there was a single perfectly logical choice in the best interest of a child for every decision. I also didn’t realize that we always have to choose that one perfectly logical choice in the best interest of our children in every decision we make. And that our failure to do so equals neglect or abuse. In fact, I’m pretty opposed to making the what is in the best interest of my child the deciding factor in every situation. Sometimes decisions that are in my best interest and unharmful to my child are just fine.

    There is absolutely no earthly reason whatsoever that the average 12 year old cannot sit in a car for 30 minutes and no indication that this child is special needs. It may not be catering to his every whim and desire. It may not even be in his best interest, but it is not dangerous, abusive or neglectful.

  62. Donna April 13, 2016 at 3:57 pm #

    “Maybe workouts aren’t specifically included, but so what if you stop there on the way home from work or from picking up your kid?”

    Because doing so is a violation of the terms of your limited driving permit and is illegal?

    “Point being, driving with a suspended license doesn’t necessarily mean this mom is a hardened criminal.”

    No, but it does mean that mom is a criminal.

    That said, the article says that she was driving without a valid license and not driving with a suspended license. Her license could be suspended or it could simply have expired. I’ve done this. I drove around on an expired driver’s license for a couple months without knowing it until I attempted to rent a car and was informed that I could not have one because my license had expired. I’ve never claimed to be the most organized person.

  63. John April 13, 2016 at 4:02 pm #

    Quote:

    “So, you think people charged with child abuse or neglect should be allowed unsupervised access to their alleged victims?”

    @James:

    It’s all about perspective James. If I’m beating my kid with a meat cleaver and / or allowing him to swim across the crocodile infested Lukanga River in the Congo, then no, I should not be allowed unsupervised access to my kid. But allowing my12-year-old son to wait by himself in my car for 30 minutes on a relatively cool day does not warrant the legal reaction it received.

  64. SKL April 13, 2016 at 4:08 pm #

    Well, I’m a criminal too, because I have speeding tickets and there have been times I didn’t renew my license or my tags by my birth date. It doesn’t necessarily mean what some people are implying it means.

  65. Beth April 13, 2016 at 4:11 pm #

    John. Don’t engage the troll.

  66. Michael April 13, 2016 at 4:24 pm #

    Donna, I’m not saying every decision has to be child centered, heaven knows the decisions in our family certainly are not. What I am trying to say is that with all the circumstances taken into account I am not willing to assume that this is a parent who made a sound decision in this case and most importantly, that this might not be the best example of a free-range parent being given the short stick by overzealous authorities.

    I don’t think the mother is abusive to the child but if she knew the doors to the car cannot open from the inside and that he has to climb out of the roof in an emergency coupled with, perhaps knowingly, driving without a valid license than she made a very poor decision that could indicate her leaving her child waiting like that could be part of a pattern of neglect. You nor I nor, I would suspect, anyone on this forum knows the family in question well enough to determine this one way or the other.

    Most 12 year olds can absolutely be left alone at home or in a car but I don’t know if this 12 year old falls in that category and neither I think do you.

  67. James Pollock April 13, 2016 at 4:25 pm #

    “It’s all about perspective James. ”

    The court doesn’t have perspective until it has facts. It doesn’t have facts until there’s been a trial (that’s what the trial is for.) So, after the trial, she won’t be restricted. BEFORE the trial, the only facts the court has are A) this person was charged with abusing and or neglecting the child, and B) this person has regular access to the alleged victim.

    Working from those facts and ONLY those facts, should the court A) limit access between the accused and alleged victim, or B) not limit access between the accused and the alleged victim.

  68. Donna April 13, 2016 at 5:05 pm #

    “Most 12 year olds can absolutely be left alone at home or in a car but I don’t know if this 12 year old falls in that category and neither I think do you.”

    I actually think it is fair to accept that any particular 12 year old can do that which most 12 year olds can do unless we are given information to indicate that this particular 12 year old is somehow different. In fact, if the officer is basing his arrest of the mother on some facts that make staying in the car uniquely dangerous to this child – say he is autistic and prone to wandering into traffic when left unattended – he would need to put those facts in his report. There are no such facts.

    See this case is different than the recent walking down the road case with a similarly poor decision-maker of a mother in that we are given enough facts to independently evaluate the general safety ourselves so we don’t need to consider the mother’s decision-making to fill-in necessary blanks. Both situations involved an action that most would find acceptable at a certain age, but not acceptable at a much younger age. It may be abusive to blame your 4 year old for being late to school and then make her walk 3 miles down the fog line of a road to get to school as punishment. At 14, it is bad parenting in my opinion, but not abusive. Due to the mother in that situation’s general bad decision making, I was not willing to assume that the child was 14 rather than 4 so I was unwilling to be outraged at her arrest without more facts.

    In this case, I also would not think it appropriate to leave a 4 year old in a car for 30 minutes while mom worked out, but we KNOW that is not what happened. It was a 12 year old. 12 years old isn’t even borderline for this to be acceptable. It is an age where I would say it is absolutely 100% okay unless the child suffers from some pretty serious developmental delay or other disorder. In fact, he’s a good 3 years on the side of most kids can do this just fine.

    “she made a very poor decision that could indicate her leaving her child waiting like that could be part of a pattern of neglect.”

    Could be. However, you don’t get to arrest people for neglect based solely on a single incident of conduct that is not actually neglectful at all, even if the mother is incredibly irresponsible otherwise. The officer arrested her for THIS conduct and THIS conduct only. Not her general neglectful parenting determined after an investigation. As a result, THIS conduct must equal neglect when viewed all by itself. The incident may give rise to a reason for CPS to investigate whether this is a pattern of behavior that, all taken together, amounts to neglect. It does not give a valid reason for arrest.

  69. ArchimedesScrew April 13, 2016 at 5:26 pm #

    The standard is all car locks must be unlockable from the inside. Rear doors require a double action, not just pulling the handle. This can mean the driver has to hit a button. Assuming I’m reading the regulation right. I expected there was something since egress laws are pretty consistent that there has to be a way out.

    Speculating here, but maybe the kid just didn’t know how to get out, or the cop considered having to climb over the seat an issue. If the kid didn’t know how, that’s a parenting issue, but likely not a criminal one.

    Either way (Volkswagen jokes aside), I doubt the car didn’t have the legal required ability to exit unless it broke.

    My parents left me in the car by 5, but with a plan. Don’t unlock doors for strangers, if car gets hot get out and come in, etc. To me, that’s the key. Have a plan for likely circumstances.

  70. NY Single Mom April 13, 2016 at 6:57 pm #

    The Cops and the management profiled her for her Latino name. If she was called Abigail or Madison they would have bought the kid a Coke and joked around with him. No Cops, no arrest.

    I hope she finds a friendlier gym.

  71. Richard April 13, 2016 at 10:25 pm #

    James Pollock, a court generally has basic information concerning the facts which the prosecution contends constitute the violation when it imposes conditions such as this one. The court’s information is not limited to the violation charged.

  72. Diane April 13, 2016 at 10:27 pm #

    I have a funny story about my son. When he was 7 he wanted to stay in the car while I went into the grocery store. I was nervous but told him to come inside in the event of an emergency and to never go anywhere with a stranger. The third time he stayed in the car, he apparently had to go to the bathroom and got out and went by a tree. Now there’s not a lot of cover in this parking lot so I’m sure at least one person noticed him. He said he had to go bad and couldn’t have made it into the store in time.
    Thank goodness no one arrested me for neglect or anything else! But from his perspective, that was the sensible decision in an unexpected situation. For a while after that, one of my questions before letting him wait in the car was, “Do you need to use the restroom?”

  73. Helen April 13, 2016 at 10:29 pm #

    My daughter is THREE and she’s already asking to wait in the car when I have a quick job to do. How does she even know that’s a thing?!? Anyway, tough luck kiddo – give it a couple of decades. It’s a different world out there – statistics show busybodies are WAY up!

  74. bmommyx2 April 13, 2016 at 10:42 pm #

    too bad she is not in california I think if they are 7 they can be in the car

  75. Donna April 14, 2016 at 7:46 am #

    “a court generally has basic information concerning the facts which the prosecution contends constitute the violation when it imposes conditions such as this one. The court’s information is not limited to the violation charged.”

    A court at first appearance (when this bond was issued) often only knows the facts contained in the arrest warrant itself. This is a hearing had within 72 hours of arrest. Unless it is a weekend, we have them within 24 hours of arrest. There is generally no argument – no cops, prosecutor or defense attorney. The police report is generally not yet complete. The magistrate sets the bond according to a schedule based on offense and criminal history (if known). A stay away from the victim is almost always part of the bond at this very early stage, if for no other reason than to allow a cooling off period. I would guess that this magistrate did know something about the allegations since supervised contact was allowed.

    However, bonds are not unchangeable. There is no reason that this condition cannot be addressed by the attorneys with more information being provided to the court that may allow it to make a different decision. I do it all the time.

  76. Jen April 14, 2016 at 10:30 am #

    @Archimedes — thank you, I was curious about exactly the issue you state. It seems like cars, like buildings, would be required by code to have doors that operate for someone exiting the vehicle, even when locked to prevent people from entering. I figured that either the kid did not know that he could push an unlock button in the front OR, he was instructed by his mom not to open the door for anyone and told the officers that he could not get out.

    Interestingly, all cars manufactured since 2002 are required to have an escape latch (often glow in the dark) in the trunk to prevent people from being trapped inside. Perhaps children should wait in the trunk to avoid the watchful eyes of busy-bodies. 🙂
    (I’m JUST KIDDING)

  77. SKL April 14, 2016 at 11:22 am #

    I am not an expert in car safety standards. I know that not too long ago, a 14yo girl died in a hot car in her school’s parking lot. Her brother and she had driven together an hour early to school, because her brother had an activity. She sat in the car reading and then when she tried to get out, she could not. The report I read said it was an upscale car that did not open without a key (brother didn’t know to leave the key with his sister). Sister gave up trying to get out and fell asleep. Car got hot and she died.

    Possibly the report was incorrect and the girl simply didn’t know how to unlock the door. But that is a problem too. We need to make sure kids (and adults) can exit a car if needed, regardless of where the key is.

  78. Donna April 14, 2016 at 11:39 am #

    With everything being so electrical in cars today, it wouldn’t surprise me if people could get locked in cars simply because the unlocking mechanism malfunctions. Long gone are the days of just lifting up the lock on the door. And of each door being able to be operated separately. In my car, the driver’s door is somewhat independent of the others, but all the other 3 doors work in unison. They are either all locked or all unlocked.

  79. Jim McGRaw April 14, 2016 at 11:51 am #

    Thanks to Lenore Skenazy for being a source for us about such idoicy.

    In 3 to 4 years the kid will be able to drive. But now cannot read in a safe car without being hassled.

    Does not matter that her license was suspended she was not driving when the police got involved.

    Does not matter that the kid could not open the door when the police with an agenda showed up, I would not want to open the door for them either.

    Who is the judge? Elected or appointed? We need to get rid of such judicial tyrants they do not belong in a “free” country.

  80. Jim McGraw April 14, 2016 at 12:07 pm #

    It was not even illegal to leave the 12 year old in the car!

    A CYFD spokesman said there is no specific law that sets an age limit for when it becomes legal or illegal to leave a child in a car alone and that each incident is dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

    A city of Albuquerque ordinance says children aged 10 or younger cannot be left at home alone, and children 11 years older can legally be left alone. It also points out that parents need to make sure their child is mature enough to be left alone – regardless of age.

  81. Shannon April 14, 2016 at 4:34 pm #

    He is 12!! Unless he was distressed by this what’s the problem? I give my 12 and 11 year old children a ton of freedom. If my kids want to stay in car whilst I’ve gone in supermarket or elsewhere I don’t see any problem. I also let them go to the park a shops without me. And use cooker and hob unsupervised. They are young people with their own views and opinions. Yes they need a little guidance but I trust my kids and if my 12 year old wants to stay home while I take her sister to dance. That’s totally up to her. I’m on the other end of the phone. And if there we’re a problem I’m totally confident she could deal with it as well as I could.

  82. Irresponsible Granny April 14, 2016 at 5:44 pm #

    Oh, dear! Guess I’m just lucky I haven’t been arrested yet for leaving my soon-to-be 12 year old grandson in a locked car with his cell phone while I ran into the post office and the grocery store and other shops which didn’t interest him on any number of occasions. Hell, he knows how to call 911 and open a locked car from the inside even if the car alarm goes off. I’m in Albuquerque, too. We should worry more about the great number of kids who are physically abused by parents or other adults. This case is absolutely ridiculous. Where can I contribute to Ms. Gonzalez’s defense fun?

  83. Richard April 14, 2016 at 10:42 pm #

    Donna, That may be a regional difference. In our courts they typically do have basic information. It would be very unusual for an order like this one, limiting contact with a child, to be given without a factual basis on the record. Certainly our local bar, and I believe our judges which are largely home grown, would take the position that such an order without a factual basis would be a constitutional violation.

  84. Meg April 15, 2016 at 4:59 pm #

    12???

    Good gravy. My kid’s babysitter was 12, and this was in this decade not the, “Good ‘Ol Days.”

    It’s a bit of an odd story-I don’t really like to be left in a car that long as an adult, and I’d think most 12 year olds (I have a 13 year old) would just as soon stay home and play video games. And, yes, she should have left him the keys, but people shouldn’t be arrested for being imperfect or less than ideal.

    Does anyone really think their lives will be improved through the expense and hoop jumping of the legal system? I sure don’t!

  85. Rob Watson April 16, 2016 at 11:14 am #

    My grandmother, at wits end having told the three of us ranging from 8-3 that she was leaving the store and to stand by her at the checkout while she paid, would have been arrested for sure. We took off to play on the pony and didn’t see her as she walked out. She got in the car and drove to the edge of the lot and watched us as we suddenly realized she was gone. We walked up and down the sidewalk for twenty minutes certain she had left us. I was considering how far it was to her home (about 30 miles of country roads) and ready to take my brother and sister and start walking home when she drove up. Three things here folks. (a) a lesson we never forgot, never went crazy over, nor turned into mad killers over (b) she never left us but we didn’t know that until we were adults. She was watching us the whole time (c) at the age of 8 years old I was preparing to walk my siblings 30 miles home because I knew we had screwed up and it was time to take responsibility for my wrong doing. Yes, life’s lessons are tough. They might make you and your little brother and sister cry. But loving parents are not the government. Grow up America.

  86. ezm April 18, 2016 at 2:57 am #

    Here is a situation which is even hard for me to understand. Anyone in a locked car, can easily unlock it. A young boy soon to be a man has mentioned that he is leery about people coming close to the car. Then he has an option to leave the car, lock it and go into the gym. Now for police to arrest the parent and charge her a felony is way out of bounds. Since when is this a felony? Child neglect, how could that be? Even a misdemeanor is a little too harsh. Where do you draw the line? Because of these fool hearted laws, our young people of today apparently are losing their right to freedom of self. More and more restrictions are placed on them and parents take the brunt of possibly being arrested. This is totally senseless. Also, what about the parent having an expired license? Wouldn’t that be irresponsible?