published Friday, November 29th, 2013

Father arrested after baby left alone in car

ORLANDO, Fla. — A father was arrested on Thanksgiving Day on a felony child neglect charge after police say he left his 2-month-old son alone in a car outside a store.

Haider Hassan Khudhair Darwash, 34, was booked into the Orange County Jail after the arrest Thursday evening. An attorney was not listed on jail records, and there was no phone number listed for Darwash in Orlando.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Trooper Edy Rivera was working an off-duty detail at a Best Buy in the Waterford Lakes shopping center for Black Friday when a man approached him and told him there was a baby alone in a car.

"That was somebody who was concerned," FHP spokeswoman Sgt. Kim Montes told The Associated Press on Friday.

The infant was asleep in the back seat of the locked car when Rivera found him, officials said. Rivera then went inside the store and announced on the public address system that he was trying to find the parents of the child or the owner of the car. After about 10 minutes, no one came forward, and the trooper broke the window but "couldn't get the child to wake up," Montes said. Paramedics were called to the scene.

Shortly after, Darwash returned to the car and identified himself as the father, officials said.

When the trooper asked why the infant was left alone in the car, the father replied that he thought his wife had the child, according to the Highway Patrol account. The wife was located standing in line at a store in the shopping center. Darwash was arrested on a felony child neglect charge. Child welfare officials also were called to the scene. It was not immediately clear where the child was taken after the father's arrest. The mother was not charged.

The child was not harmed.

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