CONWAY, SC (WMBF) – Another Conway woman is facing charges of cruelty to children after officers with the Conway Police Department say she left three young children inside a hot car while she shopped Tuesday afternoon.
According to a police report, officers responded to the Coastal Center on Church Street in Conway in reference to a report of child neglect. Upon arrival, officers were told a two-year-old, three-year-old and five-year-old were left inside of an unsecured vehicle while the driver went into an unknown store.
Officers reported while the windows were down, the children were heavily sweating and needed to be removed from the vehicle.
After several minutes, Leanne Marie Lee Sanchez, 23, exited the Citi Trends store, where officers then made contact with her, according to the report.
When asked about her relationship with the children, Sanchez stated one of them was hers and the others were children she was babysitting. Upon being asked why she left the children alone, Sanchez said "the kids are alright" and she didn't see anything wrong with leaving the children alone in the car while she was gone for a minute.
Officers questioned an employee of the Citi Trends store, who informed officers Sanchez was in the store at least 30 minutes.
When WMBF News Reporter Evan Lambert reviewed the surveillance video for himself, however, Sanchez was only in the store for nine minutes.
She says that's one thing that proves what police are saying about her isn't true. She told WMBF News exclusively Thursday that she was sorry for leaving the kids in the car, but they were fine when police checked on them.
"My son and Akalya the other child actually told the police they were watching a movie, they were OK and they were not hot," she said.
According to the report, Sanchez did not understand the seriousness of the incident and claimed to not see what the "big fuss was about."
Sanchez says she never said this. She was arrested as officers contacted the guardians of the children she was babysitting as well as her own mother to come take custody of the children.
Amanda Holt's 2-year-old son was in Sanchez' car. Holt says he's fine now, but she'll never trust Sanchez with her child again.
"I can't trust anybody now. I didn't trust anybody before," said Holt.
Sanchez is the second Conway woman to be arrested for cruelty to children in three days. Early Saturday morning, Horry County Police arrested Tabetha Jean Saunders for allowing a one-year-old to run around a parking lot alone while she slept in the backseat of a car.
Lt. Tammy Carter with the Conway Police Department said Sanchez appeared before a judge Wednesday and received a $1,100 surety bond on the charge.
According to online booking records at J. Reuben Long Detention Center, Sanchez was released around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday.
She'll face a judge on those cruelty charges April 27.