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6 kids hospitalized after being locked in hot van in Cook County; father charged

Father charged with leaving 6 kids locked in hot car
Father charged with leaving 6 kids locked in hot car 02:18

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Six children were taken to the hospital Monday afternoon after they were found locked inside a hot van near northwest suburban Des Plaines.

The property manager at the Park Colony apartment complex in the 9000 block of Lincoln Drive said a tenant called her to tell her the kids were screaming for help, so she immediately ran outside and called 911.

"They had no water, no food that I could see, and the car was locked," Melissa Compton said. "So many tenants responded, bringing water and food out to the kids. We were passing it through the windows while we waited for the police to come."

Officers found the children, ages 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, and 18 months, locked inside a Dodge van. The windows of the vehicle were slightly open, but the doors were locked.

Strangers help screaming kids left inside hot car in Des Plaines 01:42

Another neighbor, Noor Sayai, who lives just feet away from where the car was said, "We saw a van, kids were screaming."

Neighbors funneled snacks and water through a side window that was open only enough for a fist to fit through, according to one person who didn't want to be identified.

"I think it shows people getting together and resolving a problem," they said. "There was a problem and the kids needed help. Let's get help."

Police said the children did not appear to be in distress but were "visibly overheated."

Temperatures reached 80 degrees on Monday.

Officers also located the father of the kids, who told police he works for a cleaning service and left the van to clean one of the residences at 11:30 a.m.

All six children were taken to Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge for evaluation. The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services was notified and is evaluating placement for the kids.

Their father was charged with six counts of misdemeanor child endangerment and released on his own recognizance. His name is not being released, police said, to protect the identity of the children.

He is scheduled to appear in court on June 22.

CBS 2 found the van Monday night at the owner's home on Chicago's South Side. No one answered the door when CBS 2 knocked.

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