A 22-year-old mother was indicted by a Valencia County grand jury on a charge of felony child abuse this week.
Jennifer Gurule of Belen has been charged with one count of child abuse, a third-degree felony. Gurule was arrested on June 25 when police charged she had allegedly left her 4-month-old daughter alone in the back seat of her car for more than 15 minutes.
According to the police report, an officer was dispatched to Wal-Mart at 4 p.m. in reference to a baby that had been locked in a car.
“When Officer Enrique Valdez got there, he noticed the car and saw the 4-month-old baby inside in a car seat,” said Belen Police Detective Joe Griego. “The baby was crying and sweating pretty bad, and there was no parent around.”
The detective said a Belen woman had been walking through the parking lot when she noticed the baby locked inside.
Because the vehicle was locked when Valdez arrived, he decided to break the passenger side window to get the baby out of the car. Griego said the temperature inside the car had reached about 110 degrees.
After the baby was safely taken from the car, Griego said Wal-Mart employees and Valdez tried to locate the mother inside the store. The detective said Gurule left the store and walked to her car several minutes later.
“She (Gurule) was acting very hysterical and upset,” Griego said. “Valdez asked her why the baby was left inside the car, and, at first, she said she forgot the baby was in the car.”
Griego said Gurule told the officer she had merely run into the store to get someone and she was coming right back out.
“It looked to us that the baby was alone for about 10 to 15 minutes,” Griego said.
The baby was taken to the hospital after paramedics noticed she was hyperventilating. Gurule, who was allowed to go to the hospital with her daughter, was arrested at the hospital later that night.
The child was released that same night from the hospital to the custody of her father.