CHARLESTON, S.C. — A South Carolina grandmother is facing charges after police say she left her 3-year-old granddaughter in a hot car for over an hour.
Pamela Lawson was arrested Saturday in Charleston after police found a naked child in the back of her Honda Civic.
An officer from the Charleston Police Department was called to a Big Lots parking lot after witnesses spotted a child poking her head out a window. Police said that witnesses grew concerned because they noticed that she had no clothes on and the car was not running.
First responders removed the girl from the car and gave her water. When asked why she was naked, the child told them she cut her clothes off because it was hot. According to WCIV, the 3-year-old was sweaty and warm to the touch.
Lawson returned to the car after an announcement was made over the store’s PA system to find the vehicle’s owner. She told police that she was the grandmother of the child and that she had only been in the store for 25 minutes. Lawson also told them she had left the car running with the air conditioning on.
In their report, police said Lawson had car keys around her neck when she walked out of Big Lots.
A store employee later told police that Lawson had been in the store for over an hour and had left the store while hiding merchandise in her purse. It’s unclear if she was detained in the store, but Big Lots did not pursue shoplifting charges.
Lawson was arrested and charged with unlawful conduct toward a child.
According to the police report, when Officer Snyder arrived, he noted that it was sunny and 88 degrees with humidity around 75%. Based on those measurements, the heat index would be 103 degrees, according to NOAA’s National Weather Service’s Heat Index Calculator. The temperature inside the car would likely be higher.
The child was later transported to a nearby hospital.
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