Cops: Unresponsive child found in locked car at Mt. Pleasant parking lot

MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - Authorities have arrested a 39-year-old man after police discovered an unconscious child in a locked car at a Mount Pleasant parking lot.

Police charged Clark Carl Riggins of Mount Pleasant with unlawful conduct towards a child.

His arrest stems from an incident on Sunday when emergency crews were called to a parking lot at the Memorial Waterfront Park where an unresponsive child was found locked inside a car.

Responding Mt. Pleasant police officers were able to wake the child up, and located Riggins who authorities say returned to his car after seeing police cars in the parking lot.

Officers then spoke to Riggins and eventually arrested and charged him.

Authorities say the incident started when officers were called to the park by an off-duty Sullivan's Island fireman who discovered the child in the car and was unable to get his attention.

When officers arrived they saw what appeared to be an unconscious child strapped into a car seat with a neck pillow around his neck with his head slumped over.  An officer said the driver's side and the passenger doors of the car were locked. While officers were checking the doors they were shouting at the child trying to get a response.

During this time, another officer used his baton and broke the passenger side front window in order to get in and open the rear side door to get to the child.

Police said the child finally opened his eyes and appeared to "be really confused and disoriented."  According to police, the child did not have any sweat on his face, but felt "really warm" and was placed in the front seat of a patrol car to allow the AC to cool him down. The child was also given a bottle of water. An officer said the child was crying as if he was scared.

Police then canvassed the area and found Riggins. A report states when Riggins was asked how long the child had been in the vehicle since he left, the suspect hesitated and looked away for 2 to 4 seconds and then said "for 5 to 10 minutes."

Riggins told police the child did not want to go with him so he left the child in the vehicle. A report states the suspect told the officer he went to a location for track practice and came back to his car because he saw police vehicles with lights on.

A paramedic on scene asked Clark if he would like them to transport the child to MUSC's Children's Hospital. According to investigators, the suspect then asked why.

The medic replied to the suspect that it was due to the child being found unconscious and unresponsive, and would like to get him further evaluated.

The suspect then responded "Yes," and the child was transported to the hospital. About an hour later, paramedics changed the child's status from a Category 1 to Category 2.

An off-duty Sullivan's Island fireman told investigators he was about to back out of a parking space when he noticed a child sitting in the car.

The witness said the car did not appear to be warm and may have been there for some time.

He said he knocked on the window to try and get the child's attention but the child was unresponsive. The witness said the child appeared to have been sweating profusely before he discovered the child. According to the witness, although the child had stopped sweating, his shirt appeared to have sweat on it. The witness said he then got on his department radio and alerted emergency crews to the location.

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