ROHNERT PARK (CBS SF) — A San Jose woman was arrested for child endangerment after leaving her children parked inside an unattended car at a Rohnert Park casino Monday evening, according to the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office.
At about 11:40 p.m. a sheriff’s deputy patrolling the Graton Casino parking structure noticed a small child sitting in the back seat of a black Honda. He spoke with a 10-year-old who said her mother had gone into the casino and left her to care for her 1-year-old brother.
The deputy called security to locate the mother inside the casino while he stayed with the children. Security arrived with the mother, 37-year-old San Jose resident Maria Yadira Mondragon-Barboza, 20 minutes later.
Mondragon-Barboza told the deputy she was only going into the casino for a few minutes and didn’t want to bring her children with her because the infant was sleeping. She later admitted that it was dangerous to leave the children alone, Sgt. Cecile Focha said in a statement Tuesday.
Focha said the car was parked on the upper level with the keys in the ignition in the “on” position. “The children could’ve easily left the car and walked into traffic, fallen from the ledge or become victims of any numbers of crimes,” she said.
Mondragon-Barboza was booked into Sonoma County jail for child endangerment and later released on bail. She’s scheduled to appear in court on July 22.
The children were picked up by their aunt and are safe, according to Focha.