HIRAM, Ga. — Authorities say a police officer rescued two children who were sweating profusely inside a hot car while their mother shopped inside a Wal-Mart.

Hiram police spokesman Sgt. Stephen Johnson said in a news release that witnesses noticed the 7-year-old and 4-year-old girls Saturday afternoon, when it was 81 degrees outside. The windows were rolled up and the engine was not running. An officer then successfully instructed one of the children to open the car so they could be rescued.

The children’s mother, 34-year-old Ashley Lee of Dallas, Georgia, is facing two counts of second-degree child cruelty. It is unclear whether Lee has an attorney.

Her children were released to a family friend. Hiram is about 30 miles northwest of Atlanta.

VIAThe Associated Press
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