A Utah woman allegedly locked her kids in the trunk of her car while she went shopping.
Around 6 p.m. on May 25, 39-year-old Tori Castillo took her two children, aged 2 and 5 years old, with her to the Riverdale Walmart, KUCW reports. Instead of taking the children inside the store with her, Castillo allegedly intentionally locked them in the trunk of her vehicle.
"I was shocked, I was shaken, and I was mad," Charity Maw, who heard the children pounding against the car trunk from inside, said.
"The little girl's voice. Just screaming: 'Let me out! I'm scared!'" Maw added.
Another shopper, who asked to only be identified by her first name, was unloading groceries with a friend when she heard noise coming from Castillo's vehicle's trunk. She quickly put her ear against the car for a closer listen.
"I could hear some kids crying," Heidi recounted to KSTU. "I turned to my friend and I'm like: 'There's people in this trunk. There's kids in this trunk!'"
There were no windows in the trunk of the Chevrolet sedan Castillo was driving that day.
"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."
One woman said she witnessed Castillo put the children in the trunk before entering the Walmart.
"It’s never right to lock a child inside of a vehicle, let alone a trunk of a vehicle. Obviously there’s a lot of things that could go wrong," Lt. Casey Warren of the Riverdale Police said, according to KUCW.
Maw said that Heidi knew how to open the trunk from inside. She yelled instructions through the license plate to the young girl on how to use the inside emergency latch to open the trunk so they could get free.
“And there’s two kids there, tears coming down their face. Bawling. They were scared,” Maw said.
"Both kids just came out ... they just jumped out at us," Heidi told KSTU. "One lady took the 2-year-old, I took the 5-year-old."
Castillo came out of the store before police arrived.
"The only explanation she had was: 'My babysitter didn't show up,'" Heidi said.
Castillo was arrested and charged with four counts of child abuse with physical injury and one charge of theft. The children were released to their father.
"It was kind of heartbreaking to see that somebody could do something so cruel," Heidi said.
Utah's Department of Child and Family Services has opened an investigation into the case.