A New Mexico woman was arrested Oct. 18 in Phoenix, Arizona, after leaving her three children in a car while at the Arizona State Fair.
The children — two boys ages 1 and 3, as well as a 6-year-old girl — were found inside of a vehicle parked in the fairground parking lot by the Department of Public Safety (DPS), KPHO reported. The vehicle, which was not running, was locked with the windows rolled up. The girl was able to open the door, and officers removed all three children.
“The children’s skin was warm/hot to the touch,” the police report read, according to KPHO. The temperature outside was 87 degrees.
The children were taken to a first aid station on the fairgrounds and assessed.
Their mother, 28-year-old Colleen Manuelito, told authorities that her ex-boyfriend was to blame for her children being left in the car, according to court paperwork cited by KPHO. Manuelito said that she visited the fair to purchase a t-shirt and left her children with her ex in the car.
When she returned to the car, the mother said, all four individuals were gone.
The 6-year-old girl, however, made different claims to police, and her mother ultimately admitted to lying about the incident. It was determined that the ex-boyfriend had not gone to the fair with them, and Manuelito said she lied about the incident because she was "embarrassed" and "mad at her ex-boyfriend."
Manuelito was arrested on three counts of endangering the life and health of a minor, three counts of reckless child abuse, three counts of endangerment, and one count of false reporting to law enforcement.