A Columbus father and mother were arrested on felony charges of neglect of a dependent after their 6-year-old son was found in a locked car at a Columbus department store.
The incident, which took place about 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Kohl’s Department Store, was the fourth since May in which Columbus Police and firefighters have been called by passers-by to remove unsupervised children left in vehicles during hot temperatures.
The son of Shabbir H. Fanee, 43, and Fizza Fanee, 40, 4408 Kestrel Court, was left in a Volkswagen Jetta in the store parking lot at 711 Creekview Drive with the motor running and the air conditioning on, according to a Columbus Police Department media release.
When police located the vehicle, the boy began to cry violently, Patrolman John Searle said. The boy’s hair was wet with perspiration, police said.
Officers attempted to calm the boy and asked him several times to unlock the door. When the child complied, officers discovered that the air conditioner was actually blowing warm air out of the venting system, police said.
Columbus firefighters measured the temperature in the vehicle at more than 100 degrees when the child was removed.
The boy was checked by emergency medical responders and appeared to be unharmed, Searle said.
When the parents returned to the car, the child’s father told police that the boy didn’t want to go into the store so they left him in the locked car with the air conditioning on.
The father told police they gave the boy some grapes to eat while they were shopping and thought he would be fine in the vehicle.
The boy was turned over to Child Protective Services, Columbus Police said.
After being taken to the Bartholomew County Jail, the couple each posted a $755 cash bond and were released shortly after midnight Sunday, jail officials said.