Florida woman leaves baby in car to go shopping at mall, police say

Florida

PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — A Florida woman was arrested Saturday after leaving her baby in the car alone while she went shopping at Cordova Mall, according to Pensacola police.

Havilah Branch, 22, is charged with child neglect and resisting arrest.

A man reported to mall security that he saw a baby in a blue Ford Focus with no adult around. Mall security went to the car, which was about 100 yards away near Office Depot, and called the police for assistance.

As an officer was arriving, Branch walked to the car and got into the driver’s seat. The officer tapped on the window but Branch ignored it, according to the arrest report. The officer tapped on the window a few more times, leading Branch to roll down the window.

According to the arrest report, she said something to the officer, but her statement was redacted. The officer said Branch tried to maneuver around the patrol vehicle and refused to identify herself or answer any questions.

Branch did eventually comply and gave her ID to the officer. She was placed under arrest when she exited the car about 30 minutes later, police say.

Branch told the officer she went to the mall to get food for her and her baby and to do some shopping.

Police say based on the times she made purchases inside the mall, the distance from the car, and the witness account, Branch was away from the car for at least 25 to 30 minutes. Police report at that time of day it was 77 degrees outside.

Branch’s mother arrived and is taking care of the baby, who officers estimated to be about a year old.

Branch was released from the Escambia County Jail on a $3,000 bond Saturday night.

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