A girl was rescued from a hot truck in Albuquerque, New Mexico Tuesday afternoon, according to reports. Three good Samaritans were headed into a Home Depot when they spotted the 5-year-old girl attempting to crawl through the back window of a red pickup truck— she had been locked inside as punishment by her parents in the 90-degree heat.
The girl was rescued from the hot truck by Sheena Mayorga, her fiancé Hector Ramirez and their friend John Bodenheimer, who managed to free the girl from the pickup truck and called police. The red vehicle was off, locked and had all windows rolled up.
45 minutes after she was rescued, the girl's parents, Angelica Lerma Montoya and Dulces Monge Perez, came out of the Home Depot where they had been shopping. They were reportedly sobbing on the scene and said they didn't know she had been left in the hot truck, but the 5-year-old revealed that she was left in the car on purpose. She later told staff at New Mexico's Children, Youth and Families Department that she was locked inside as punishment for refusing to eat her meal before the shopping trip.
"I hope they don't get the child back, they don't deserve the child if they're going to be doing that," Bodenheimer said. "I mean, they were in the store for over an hour. That child could have easily died."
She was "screaming, sweating, unsure and very scared," Mayorga told KOB 4 news. "We were just trying to calm her down," Bodenheimer added.
Home Depot employees took the 5-year-old who was soaked with sweat to a nearby shoe store with air conditioning and water so she could cool down. Authorities arrived on the scene along with paramedics, and they took her to a local hospital to be treated for heat exhaustion.
Montoya and Perez were arrested and charged with child abuse resulting in great bodily harm, and both of their bails were set at $40,000. They have been placed on an immigration hold, according to KOB 4 news.
"A tragedy was prevented today," Albuquerque Police Lt. Eric Jordan said. "You shouldn't leave kids, pets, anything in this type of heat without the car running. If you can't bring your children shopping with you, either don't go shopping or leave a responsible person with them at home."