Watch CBS News

Caught On Video: Mother Arrested After Leaving Infant In Hot Car In 100-Degree Heat

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – An Arizona mom was arrested in June after forgetting and leaving her five-month-old in the car for nearly an hour.

Newly released body cam video shows the dramatic moment police rescued the baby from what could have been another hot car tragedy.

"We forgot her, I don't know how we forgot her, but we just forgot her!"

That was the horrifying moment 37-year-old Stacey Holly realized she did the unimaginable.

"Honestly don't know how it happened. I am freaking out. I'm sorry… I just don't know how it happened like how do you forget your baby!" Holly told officers.

Holly forgot the infant inside her car parked in the hot Arizona sun, while she shopped at a Target with her sister and six-year-old niece.

"I love you honey I'm sorry! I'm sorry!"

Surveillance video captured Holly walking inside the store. Nearly an hour later she heads back to the car where she realizes what's happened and calls 911.

(Credit: Goodyear, Az. Police Department)

"We got lucky on this one man. Thirty minutes without it running. That's a long time. It's a little, little infant," an Arizona police officer said.

While the temperature outside were around 100 degrees, inside a car that number can jump to 134 degrees in just 30 minutes.

"I think that these people who do it, who you see on TV 'oh my God how stupid are they to leave their kids in the car' and then it happened," the parent said.

On average, 38 children die each year in hot cars around the country. So far this year, that number has hit at least 35 – with three young children in New York and New Jersey dying in just that last month.

On August 16, a 22-month-old child was left in her family's minivan at a Lindenwold rail station. The girl died before first responders could arrive and her family did not return to the scene for another three hours.

New Jersey hot car
Minivan in Lindenwold, New Jersey where a toddler was found dead on Aug. 16, 2019. (Credit: CBS2)

Just three weeks before that, a New York father left his one-year-old twins in the back of his car in the Bronx. They died after staying the car for eight hours.

Both cases are still being investigated by police, it's unknown if the parents in both incidents will be charged.

Holly was heard on tape thanking the police, calling her arrest "eye-opening."

"Do you understand the seriousness of what happened?" an officer interrogating Holly asked.

"Yes, 1,000 percent," she replied.

Congress is considering a law that would require new cars to have a warning system to remind drivers of back seat passengers. Some cars already have that technology and the New York City council is pushing for the same changes.

In Arizona, Holly has been charged with endangerment and reckless child abuse. The mother has pleaded not guilty to those charges.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.