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California Mom Charged with Leaving Baby in Hot Car

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SAN DIEGO) -- A San Diego mother, arrested for leaving her 4-month-old daughter in a car while shopping, was released from custody this week after posting bail.

On Tuesday at 3:10 p.m., police said a maintenance worker noticed a child locked in a sedan with the windows rolled up and called 911.  The National City police and fire departments immediately arrived at the scene -- a parking lot in front of a clothing store in a strip mall on East Plaza Boulevard.

A police officer and a witness forced open a rear window to retrieve the child, who was unresponsive and covered in sweat, National City Police Sgt. Julian Villagomez said.

According to Villagomez, the 25-year-old mother, Starley Geart, left the store moments later.  She appeared to be confused.  Although Geart claimed to have been in the store for a minute, surveillance tapes show Geart in the store for approximately nine minutes.

Firefighters subsequently locked the car for 10 minutes and measured the temperature at 140 degrees Fahrenheit, Villagomez said.

"We all need to be very careful," he said.  "Here in California we have beautiful weather… it was 75 degrees but that temperature can nearly double in a locked car in minutes.  We need to be very careful and not leave kids or pets unattended."

According to Villagomez, Geart was arrested for felony child endangerment and booked into Las Colinas Detention Facility, while her daughter was taken to Rady Children's Hospital.  The child was released and placed in protective custody.  Since the victim is a minor, neither Rady Children's Hospital nor San Diego County Child Welfare Services could comment on the specifics of the case.

Geart was released Wednesday after posting bail.  Her arraignment is scheduled for Aug. 1.

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