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Rochester, MN (KROC AM News) - A Chatfield-area woman has been charged with child endangerment for leaving her infant in a hot car at the Apache Mall parking lot.

The criminal complaint filed in Olmsted County Court against 30-year-old Abbey Sass suggests the baby and a dog were in the vehicle for nearly an hour.

The incident happened the morning of Aug 11th, 2020 when the air temperature was around 75 degrees. A person who heard the infant “crying loudly” checked and found the child in the back seat of the locked vehicle and called 911.

An officer arrived around 11:30 am and “observed very loud cries coming from the vehicle and noted that the windows of the vehicle were cracked open approximately one inch.” The officer also observed a large dog in the front seat that appeared to be panting heavily and then saw the infant in the rear seat, crying and sweating.

Just as the officer was able to open the door, “a woman came running toward the vehicle after coming out of a nearby department store.” The woman - later identified as Sass - said she was the mother of the child. She told the officer “she went into the department store to exchange an item” and was in the store for more than half an hour.

Sass told the officer “she did not believe the exchange would take more than 15 minutes.“ She also said “that she could have taken the infant inside with her but did not because she believed the exchange would be brief.”

The officer told Sass the temperature inside the vehicle may have reached 95 degrees because the windows were barely open and it had a black interior.

Sass has been ordered to make her first court appearance in December.

Olmsted County Attorney

The case was filed last week, more than a year after the incident happened.

The county attorney's office was asked about the delay and had this response:

"During the close down of the pandemic we were overloaded with new cases and the attorneys are still trying to get caught up."

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