Atwater infant left in hot car recovering; mother has prior felony charge

08/06/2014 6:09 PM

08/06/2014 10:50 PM

A 3-month-old boy recovered Wednesday in the custody of his father, a day after Atwater police say he was left by his mother in a hot vehicle for an extended period of time.

The child was treated and released from Mercy Medical Center. He appeared to be “OK,” Lt. Samuel Joseph said.

Amanda R. Sagmiller, the boy’s mother, was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of child endangerment, a felony. She was still in custody Wednesday on $130,000 bail at the John Latorraca Correctional Facility, according to Merced County jail booking records.

Why the child was left unattended remained unclear Wednesday.

Police said they were investigating and conducting interviews. “She was apologetic and made comments that she, in essence, is irresponsible,” Joseph said.

Sagmiller, 26, of Atwater is suspected of leaving the child in a purple 1999 Dodge Caravan with its windows rolled up in the parking lot of an Atwater grocery store for more than 30 minutes, around the hottest part of the day. Temperatures in Atwater on Tuesday climbed to higher than 90 degrees, authorities said.

Atwater police were called at 3:48 p.m. Tuesday to the 2800 block of Shaffer Road in Atwater. Officers described the child as “extremely lethargic, soaked with perspiration and slow in responding” when he was pulled from the vehicle and rushed to the hospital.

Police said the infant was released from the hospital into his father’s care. Merced County Child Welfare Services is involved in the investigation, officers confirmed.

No formal child endangerment charges were filed as of Wednesday. The Merced County District Attorney’s Office plans to review the case once it’s submitted this week, District Attorney Larry D. Morse II confirmed.

Sagmiller was already wanted in Merced County on a warrant charging her with failing to appear in court on a prior felony charge, according to Merced Superior Court records obtained by the Merced Sun-Star.

Judge Marc A. Garcia issued a warrant June 2 for Sagmiller’s arrest after she apparently skipped her arraignment hearing on a felony embezzlement charge, according to court records.

Prosecutors in March charged Sagmiller with embezzling from a Walmart in Merced County. According to the complaint, Sagmiller is accused of stealing at least several hundred dollars from the store between July 11, 2013, and Sept. 3, 2013.

The exact amount of money she is accused of stealing could not be confirmed Wednesday. Copies of reports from investigators were not available.

Sagmiller was still on probation in connection with a drunken driving conviction in 2013, according to court records.

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