Mom charged after leaving infant in van

LANCASTER -- A Lancaster mother was charged with unlawful conduct toward a child after authorities said she left her 6-month-old son in a van while she was in a store.

Lois Ann Hudson, 40, of 6811 Huey Road told police Thursday she forgot the baby was in the car, said Capt. Harlean Howard of the Lancaster Police Department.

"Maybe people just think they can jump out of their car, run into a store and come back within a few minutes, but that's not so," Howard said. "It's just not safe to leave babies and young children unattended."

With the temperature at 88 degrees around 10:30 a.m. Thursday, officials found the sweating 6-month-old in a car seat behind the driver's seat in a blue van in a Wal-Mart parking lot, according to police reports.

"The child could have been kidnapped since the windows were down and the van was unlocked," said Howard, who could not say how long the baby was unattended in the van.

The report notes no adult was in or around the van, and authorities moved the child to a shaded area, according to the report.

Hudson later came out of Wal-Mart.

She stated "that she forgot that the baby was in the van," according to the report.

The felony charge carries up to 10 years in prison, Howard said. Hudson, who was released on a $10,000 bond, declined to comment when reached Friday.

The incident marks the third time that children have been left in vehicles in the Wal-Mart parking lot, Howard said. In March 2005, a 3-year-old boy and a 1-year-old boy were left unattended in a vehicle and in October 2006, a 6-year-old girl was discovered in a vehicle, Howard said.

In Rock Hill, four children have been left in vehicles in the past 14 months, said Lt. Larry Vaughan of the Rock Hill Police Department.

In May 2006, a 2-year-old girl was left in a car while her caregiver was in the library. In November 2006, a caregiver ran into a pharmacy and left a 1-year-old girl in a car.

In another instance, a caregiver went into a convenience store and left a child in a vehicle that was carjacked, Vaughan said.

In that case, the car was located a few minutes later with the child inside, Vaughn said.

"If you have to go out, take your small children with you," said Howard of the Lancaster Police Department. "Don't leave them in the car."