Crime

Mom Locks Kids In Trunk In Walmart Parking Lot

| by Michael Howard

A Utah woman was arrested and charged with child abuse after reportedly locking her children in the trunk of her car while she shopped in a Walmart.

Tori Castillo, 39, was confronted by police and taken into custody after emerging from the store on May 25. While she was inside, a number of people helped rescue her children, who are 2 and 5 years old, from the trunk.

"The small children ... began making noise and moving frantically, causing the vehicle to shake," a police spokesperson said, according to CNN. "Several good Samaritans observed this and came to the aid of the children."

One of these good Samaritans, who identified herself as Heidi, spoke to KSTU about the moment she realized there were kids locked in the trunk.

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"I could hear some kids crying," she said. "I turned to my friend and I'm like, 'There's people in this trunk. There's kids in this trunk!'"

Heidi, her friend and two other women -- one of whom said she saw Castillo force her children into the trunk -- began talking to the girl.

"I started talking to the little girl that I could hear screaming," Heidi said. "She was [yelling], 'Mom, let me out! Let me out! Mom! Help!' She was screaming, crying."

Heidi instructed the girl to use the emergency latch to open the trunk. It worked.

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"Both kids just came out … they just jumped out at us," she said. "One lady took the 2-year-old, I took the 5-year-old."

The women called the police and waited with the children in the parking lot.

"I was shocked, I was shaken, and I was mad," Charity Maw told KTVX. "The little girl’s voice. Just screaming, 'Let me out! I’m scared.'"

When Castillo returned to her car, she reportedly told police that her babysitter hadn't shown up.

"The only explanation she had was, 'My babysitter didn't show up,'" Heidi said, adding, "It was kind of heartbreaking to see that somebody could do something so cruel."

Castillo was arrested and booked into the Weber County Correctional Facility. She is charged with four counts of child abuse with physical injury and one count of theft (thought it wasn't specified, it's assumed she shoplifted, as well).

"It’s never right to lock a child inside of a vehicle, let alone a trunk of a vehicle," Lt. Casey Warren told KTVX. "Obviously there’s a lot of things that could go wrong."

The children are now in the custody of their father, according to police. The Department of Child and Family Services is investigating the incident.

Sources: CNN, KSTU, KTVX / Photo credit: Random Retail/Flickr

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