Precious Wilmer left her car running when she made a stop at a QuickTrip gas station in Clayton County, Georgia.
Her two children, 1-month-old Ava Wilmer and 4-year-old Arya Davenport, were in the car when she went inside to pay for her gas. But when she returned to her car Wednesday afternoon, police say, Wilmer saw someone driving it away, according to the Associated Press.
She could do nothing but watch as her 2009 black Chevy Equinox drove away with both Ava and Arya in the back, according to WCNC.
Authorities say that Khyree Swift and an unnamed 16-year-old stole the car — and allegedly dumped both children on the side of a road in freezing temperatures, 11Alive reported.
Georgia State University police Chief Joseph Spillane told WSB-TV2 that he was on the way to the airport when he saw the car zip through a red light.
He dismissed it at first as someone struggling with the icy terrain, he told the outlet, before seeing Arya wandering down the road. She only had one shoe on, Spillane said.
“She said, ‘Somebody took my mama's truck and my little sister is inside,’” Spillane told WSB-TV2 . “She was obviously upset and crying and really worried about her little sister.”
Miles away from her sister, Ava was sitting by the side of a road, per The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The 1-month-old infant, found in a car seat, was discovered by a photographer who was on the way to cover the story.
The temperature was just 22 degrees when she was found shortly after 7 p.m., WCNC wrote.
Both Swift and his teenaged accomplice face unknown charges at this time, local media reported.
Wilmer said she was relieved to have both her children back safely.
“When I had both of them back I was just happy," she told WSB-TV2. “I held them all night, literally.”