Toddler left in car, as mom gets booked in jail

Posted at 7:22 PM, Nov 01, 2012
and last updated 2012-11-02 07:43:28-04

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WTVR)--Sgt. Orlando Irving received an unusual call for security assistance on Wednesday, late in the afternoon, just after 4 p.m. at the Henrico County Courts building.

"There's a kid locked in a car so I rushed out here and looked and there the kid was," said Irving. 

Irving pointed to the handicapped spot in the court parking lot where he first discovered a two-year-old boy locked inside a  vehicle.   

"He was just sitting in the backseat kind of slumped over and crying," said Irving. 

Irving’s first instinct was to break a car window and bring the child to safety. He first tried to determine how long the child had been there.

"I checked the car and checked the top of the hood and it was cold so I figured he must have been there quite awhile," said Irving. 

Rather than scare the small child already distressed inside, Irving opted to call a locksmith to open the car.

"I don't know how long he'd been there but it hurt my heart to see it," he said. 

Even after the car had been opened Irving recalls it took some time for the toddler to come around and feel comfortable.  

"I couldn't get him to talk, he was just pointing a juice box so I guess he was thirsty,” he said.

While the child was being cared for, changed and fed, Henrico Police and Sheriff’s Deputies began to investigate who had left the boy.

They started by checking the court docket for the day. They discovered the boy’s mother, Chaka Campbell, had been scheduled for a 1 p.m. court hearing for a failure to appear charge.

Soon after they’d realize Campbell was processing in to the jail.   

"It was absolutely a blessing that he was in the right place at the right time," said Major Antoinette Irving of the Henrico County Sheriff’s Department.

Several other agencies became involved with the case and the recovery of the boy. When confronted, Campbell told the police she had left the boy with a godmother, but police say no one ever returned to the car.  

The child was unharmed and given over to the custody of a relative. Campbell has been charged with felony child neglect and declined to an interview with CBS6 from jail.

"It took a team effort to ensure that the baby was taken care of, " said Maj. Irving.