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MESQUITE (CBSDFW.COM) –  Authorities in Mesquite were forced to break open the window of a car on Tuesday afternoon when a child was found locked inside.  The incident happened at around 11:30 a.m. at the AMC Mesquite 30 movie theater, located in the 19900 block of the LBJ Freeway.

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A witness spotted the child alone in a white 2011 Chrysler 300 that was parked in a handicapped spot.  Lt. Brian Parrish with the Mesquite Police Department confirmed the toddler was not crying when police and fire officials arrived.  “There was about a two-year-old female in the car in a safety seat.  The child was not in distress, was not crying, anything like that.  It was just staring at the officers.” However, the windows were rolled up and the vehicle was not running.

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(credit: CBS 11 News)

(credit: CBS 11 News)

Authorities could not immediately locate the girl’s parents or guardians, so they opted to break the window and rescue the child from the car. The toddler’s father — identified as 46-year-old Leroy Price of Dallas — came out of the theater a short time later.   “He said that he had dropped off the child at daycare this morning,” Price told police, according to Parrish.

(credit: Mesquite Police)

(credit: Mesquite Police)

Price was arrested for outstanding traffic warrants and was later charged with recklessly endangering or abandoning a child.  That is a state jail felony in Texas. Bond had not been set by early evening.   Police placed the child into a patrol unit at the scene.   She was released into the custody of a woman who identified herself as the child’s mother to CBS 11 News.   The toddler was never harmed.

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports 25 children a year will likely die trapped in a hot car.   Lt. Parrish said the incident is a good reminder that it is never a good idea to leave a child unattended in a car.  “I think everybody who’s watching right now, they should take note of this and double-check their vehicles.   It doesn’t matter if you THINK you did something    People get confused, they’re tired, they get distracted with other things and it’s easy to forget a sleeping child in the back seat.   And we don’t want to have any more tragedies like we’ve had in the past.”