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Kids Found Alone In Casino Parking Lot, Couple Charged

HIALEAH (CBSMiami) - Employees at Hialeah Park Casino say a veteran security guard on routine patrol may have saved the lives of young boys who were left alone in their parents car while their parents were gambling.

Authorities say the children were left alone in a parking lot in their parents unlocked Pontiac for at least 90 minutes at the Hialeah Park Casino early Thursday.

Watch the report by Carey Codd, click here.

"The car was unlocked and there could have been all sorts of problems with that and the possibility of something happening to them," said Hialeah Police Detective and spokesman Carl Zogby, who is also the Executive Assistant to the Chief of Police.

"The car was running, the engine was running and the air conditioning was on. The parents seemed to think that was ok but the law says otherwise," Zogby told CBS4's Peter D'Oench.

The parents, 25-year-old Tyrell Johnson and 26-year-old Josephine Laidler, were charged with two counts of child neglect and were being held on $5,000 bond.

A Casino spokesman said the parents were captured on surveillance tape arriving in their Pontiac just after midnight and then playing the slot machines inside the casino.

The parents also reportedly left the cars' windows cracked and claimed they thought their children were sleeping.

About 90 minutes later, security guard Wanda Moore spotted the children while checking the parked cars with her flashlight. She immediately notified Casino management and they made an announcement about the children.

The parents came forward and police were called.

When police arrived, they discovered that both children were barefoot. The one-year-old boy was wearing diapers.

The Department of Children and Families said the parents had no history with the department.

At a court hearing at the Juvenile Justice Center, Circuit Judge Michael Hanzman gave temporary custody of the boys to the maternal grandparents.

The maternal grandmother told D'Oench that she did not want to comment on camera but she said she did not hesitate to volunteer to help the children. She said she has 20 grandchildren and told Judge Hanzman she was "starting school."

The maternal grandfather is a retired Vietnam Veteran.

There will be another hearing on September 12th for the children.

Wanda Moore has been a security guard for 10 years. She declined to comment about her life-saving actions, saying she was camera shy.

One Casino employee who did not want to give his name said, "I have no doubt that what she did saved the lives of these two young boys. And that makes her a hero as far as I'm concerned."

Watch the report by Peter D'Oench, click here.

Watch Natalia Zea's Noon Report


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