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‘Car seat was heavy:’ Mother accused of leaving 1-year-old in car while she shopped pleads not guilty

MILWAUKEE — A Milwaukee mother accused of leaving her 1-year-old child in a vehicle alone for approximately an hour while she shopped for groceries at Metro Market was in court Wednesday, April 3 for her preliminary hearing.

Chenille Cole, 28, faces one count of neglecting a child — specified harm did not occur and child under 6 years of age.

During her preliminary hearing, a Milwaukee police officer testified, and a motion to dismiss from the defense was denied. Probable cause was found for further proceedings and she was bound over for trial. A scheduling conference was set for April 19.

According to a criminal complaint, police were dispatched to the Metro Market store near Van Buren and Juneau, where they spoke with a security guard who indicated a customer alerted store staff that there was an infant alone in a vehicle in the parking lot. The security guard saw the infant sleeping in the car and said he was unable to locate a parent or owner of the vehicle.

Staff members took a look at surveillance video that showed approximately an hour had gone by with the child alone in the vehicle.

Eventually, Cole arrived at the vehicle and identified herself as the child’s mother.

The complaint said she indicated “she had only been gone for 15 minutes,” and that she “thought it was a safe place” to leave her 1-year-old “because the child had been sick and had just fallen asleep.” She also indicated “the car seat was heavy.”

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