CLEVELAND (WJW) — Newly obtained video shows the rescue of two children left in a hot SUV for hours in Cleveland, along with the search for the mother.
It happened last month, but the video has just been released to NewsNation affiliate WJW.
Police got a 911 call from an off-duty officer saying, “A parent left her kids unoccupied in a car, in the hot car.” A dispatcher reacts with, “Oh, my goodness.”
According to a report, bystanders in a parking lot noticed children left alone in an SUV in the hot sun, and one child could be heard screaming out of a cracked window.
“The little girl was hanging out the window screaming for her mom,” a witness told officers as they arrived. “So I’m a parent, so I walked up to the car to make sure there was nobody in the car with them.”
Bystanders had opened the car door by the time the first officer arrived.
The officer said to the kids, “Hi. You guys, OK?” A little voice responds, “Yeah.”
Police say they found two girls, ages 2 and 5, who had been in the car for three and a half hours. Records show the mother had been in a medical facility donating plasma.
A worker at the facility told police, “Been in here for at least two hours.”
As officers were piecing things together, one says, “Been here since 7:30.” Another responds incredulously, “Been here since 7:30?”
When the mother, Tomesha Massey, arrived, an officer tried to explain the situation. “The vehicle was turned off with the windows up and the kids…,” the officer said. “Bystanders were able to open the door… get the kids some water.”
As the officer was explaining, the mother turned away, and the officer said, “Hey!” before continuing with, “It’s hot outside. You know what I mean?”
The mother then responds, “Oh, you mean? … OK.”
Police said the children had been left inside with the front windows cracked about 3 inches and the keys left in the ignition. A report says the temperature that day was about 79 degrees, but temperatures inside a car with the windows up can get dangerously high quickly.
Police arrested Massey and charged her with child endangering. She’s pleading not guilty in court.
Massey appeared surprised by her arrest, saying, “I’m getting arrested? OK, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” Then, “I’m being detained?”
Cuyahoga County child welfare workers said the children have been placed with an out-of-state relative for now.
WJW tried to contact Massey for comment but did not receive a response.