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Prosecutors: Father left kids alone in vehicle in -20° wind chills during work meeting

Joshua Phillips

MILWAUKEE — A Milwaukee father is facing child neglect charges, accused of leaving his young children alone in a vehicle in dangerous wind chills while he attended an “emergency” work meeting.

Joshua Phillips, 25, faces two counts of neglect of a child, specified harm did not occur, child under 6 years of age.

According to a criminal complaint, on Thursday, Jan. 31, police responded to the area near Wisconsin Avenue and Jefferson Street for a child neglect complaint. The criminal complaint notes the wind chill at the time was -20°.

In a parking structure, a security guard told police shortly before 12:30 p.m., she heard children yelling from a vehicle, which was unlocked and not running. The security guard brought the children, ages 4 and 2 inside.

Around 1:30 p.m., the complaint said Phillips arrived on scene, and identified himself as the father of the children. He said at 10:30 a.m., his boss called him to work for an emergency meeting, and he decided to bring the children with him and leave them in the car.

Surveillance video showed the vehicle was parked at 11:57 a.m., and it was running until 12:20 p.m., when the brake lights flared and the vehicle turned off.

According to the complaint, Phillips “stated he was aware Wisconsin was experiencing a polar vortex, and he regretted his actions.”

Phillips made his initial appearance in court on Saturday, Feb. 2. A preliminary hearing was set for Feb. 19, and a $1,000 signature bond was set.

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