LIBERTY TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WKBN) – A man from Washington state is facing charges after police say he left his toddler unsupervised inside a car at Walmart.
According to a police report, officers were called about 6:20 p.m. Monday to the parking lot of the Walmart on Goldie Road after a witness said that a small child, about two or three years old, was alone in a vehicle.
The witness said the car with the child inside arrived at the store at the same time he did and that he had been in the store about 45 minutes.
Officers at first found the child sleeping inside the Hyundai Sonata but then said she woke up and started playing on a tablet.
Officers made an announcement over the public address system at Walmart and asked for the driver to come to the parking lot.
The driver, later identified as Philip Gadzekpo, 32, of Pullman, Washington, said that he went into the store because the child refused to get out of the car because of the weather. According to weather information from the National Weather Service at the Youngstown Regional Airport, conditions at the time were overcast with light rain and the temperature was 62 degrees.
Officers estimated the child was left alone for just under an hour.
Gadzekpo was booked into the Trumbull County Jail on child endangering charges and the child was turned over to a local family member.
Gadzekpo pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in Girard Municipal Court on Tuesday. Bail was set at $2,500. A pretrial was set for June 8.