An East Elmhurst woman faces up to a year behind bars after allegedly leaving her 2-year-old daughter all alone inside her car at a College Point shopping center on Sunday afternoon.
Firefighters and officers from the 109th Precinct responded to the parking lot near the P.C. Richard store on 20th Avenue at 3:30 p.m. on April 22. According to WABC-TV and Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown, passersby in the lot spotted the child sweating and crying while unattended inside the locked Honda CRV, and they contacted 911 for assistance.
Prosecutors said the child’s mother — Elvira Sadikaj, 46, of 80th Street in East Elmhurst — left the child in the vehicle with the windows up 10 minutes earlier as she visited the nearby TJ Maxx store.
First responders quickly removed the child from the vehicle and rushed her to Flushing Hospital, where she was treated for symptoms of dehydration and overheating. Video of the rescue operation was posted to the Bayside, Queens Facebook page.
Five minutes later, Sadikaj returned to the vehicle and allegedly told police that she “wasn’t gone for a long time.” She was subsequently taken into custody and arraigned on April 23 on a charge of endangering the welfare of a child.
Following her arraignment, Sadikaj was released under the supervision of the Criminal Justice Agency, but ordered to return to court on May 4. The Administration of Children’s Services is also investigating the matter, WABC-TV reported.
“The care and safety of one’s child should always be of the utmost importance, however, in this case, the defendant’s desire to shop allegedly surpassed her instincts to keep her toddler out of harm’s way,” Brown said in a statement. “The mother’s ‘quick’ trip into a store could have ended tragically, but thankfully, firefighters were there in time to rescue the toddler from the hot vehicle.”
This story was updated at 5:25 p.m. on April 23.