Belen

A Belen woman is back home with her infant daughter, after being arrested and subsequently released Tuesday for allegedly leaving the four-month-old alone in a car at Wal-Mart.

Jennifer Gurule, 22, is charged with one count of abandoning and abuse of a child.

Detective Joe Griego said police were dispatched to Wal-Mart at 4 p.m. in reference to a baby who had been locked in a car.

“When Officer Enrique Valdez got there, he noticed the car and saw the four-month-old baby inside the car, in a car seat,” Griego said. “The baby was crying and sweating pretty bad, and there was no parent around.”

The only other adult around was the woman who initially called police to report the incident, Griego said. The detective said Cynthia Caldwell had been walking through the parking lot when she noticed the baby.

Without another way to get into the vehicle, Valdez decided to break the passenger-side window to get the baby out of the car. Griego said the temperature inside the car was probably 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 before Gurule exited the store and walked to her car.

“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.

“Then she said she had just ran inside the store to get someone and she was coming right back out,” Griego said. “It looked to us that the baby was alone for about 10 to 15 minutes.”

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 Tuesday night.

The child was released that night from the hospital to the custody of her father.

Gurule was taken to the Belen Police Department, where she was booked and released on her own recognizance by Magistrate Judge Tody Perea.

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Clara Garcia is the editor and publisher of the Valencia County News-Bulletin.
She is a native of the city of Belen, beginning her journalism career at the News-Bulletin in 1998 as the crime and courts reporter. During her time at the paper, Clara has won numerous awards for her writing, photography and typography and design both from the National Newspaper Association and the New Mexico Press Association.