The Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office said a woman is in custody after leaving her four young grandchildren in a hot car outside a grocery store.
Deputies were called to the Bi-Lo on Reidville Road around 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday in regards to children left unattended in a dark blue Infiniti.
When deputies arrived on scene, they said they found three children and a small baby inside the car, which was not running and the windows were rolled down two to three inches.
According to the incident report, the children were visibly sweating and uncomfortable.
“Due to the amount of sweat and the amount of moisture wetting the hair of the juveniles it was apparent that the juveniles had been left for some period of time before my arrival,” a deputy noted in the incident report.
The deputy was able to get a boy inside the car to unlock the door and he removed the infant in her car seat and put her in the air-conditioned patrol car to provide a cooler environment.
EMS was called to the scene to evaluate all the children.
Deputies said they then located the grandmother of the children, 51-year-old Vanessa Brown-Oquendo, inside Bi-Lo.
According to the incident report, Brown-Oquendo told deputies she had only been in the store “five to seven minutes” but surveillance video indicated she had entered the store nearly 30 minutes before deputies arrived on scene.
They were not able to locate her until nearly an hour after she had entered the store.
“It should be noted that Ms. Oquendo was not finished shopping at Bi-Lo when located… and it could have been an even longer amount of time before Ms. Oquendo emerged from the building,” a deputy stated in the incident report.
Deputies said she is the current caretaker of the children but does not yet have legal custody. The children were placed in the care of emergency protective services.
Brown-Oquendo was arrested and charged with four counts of unlawful neglect of a child.
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