Mom arrested for leaving toddler, 18-month-old twins in hot van outside Walmart

Posted at 6:04 PM, Sep 04, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-05 18:54:52-04

PETERSBURG, Va. -- A mother was handcuffed outside the Petersburg Walmart after police, fire and EMS workers responded to a 911 call that three children were locked in a car.

A bystander called 911 and was trying to get the van open. Callers described three kids soaked with sweat and in various stages of consciousness Thursday.

The children were locked in a hot van for as much as an hour while the mother shopped inside with her oldest child, age six, at the Walmart on 3500 S. Crater Road.

PHOTO: CBS 6 Reporter Wayne Covil

The children were age three and the twins were 18-months-old, the Petersbug Fire Department told CBS 6.

They had to be transported to the hospital. They were listed in stable condition at Southside Regional Medical Center before they were released into the custody of Petersburg Social Services.

The three-year-old was initially unresponsive, sources said. Shoppers say police on the scene arrested the mother.

Emily Farber

Emily Catherine Farber (SOURCE: Petersburg police)

Officials said Friday morning that 26-year-old Emily Catherine Farber was charged with  three counts of felony abuse and neglect, reckless disregard for life.

She is being held on a $2,000 secured bond and has received a court appointed lawyer.

"It's almost 100 degrees,” said Angie Hundley, a mom who lives nearby.  “You don't leave candy in your car, pets and definitely not your kids."

Dr. Beth Purdue at Southside Regional Medical Center said after three consecutive days with temperatures in the 90's, plus humidity, it's not appropriate to leave your kids in the car for any amount of time.

"Common sense is usually a good indicator,” said Perdue.  “If you'd be uncomfortable sitting in the car 10 minutes with no air conditioning, your kids probably would, too."

The family was headed to Pennsylvania from Florida, officials said.

Farber is scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 16.