On Saturday, July 11, Santa Rosa County deputies were dispatched to the Gulf Breeze Wal-Mart on U.S. 98 for a complaint of a child locked in a vehicle with the windows closed.
Police said witnesses saw a child, about 5 years old, sweating and crying. After failing to locate the driver, one of the men broke the window to save the child.
Christin Renee Deam, of Pine Bluff, Ark., was arrested on a third-degree felony count of child neglect.
Witnesses said they attempted to locate the driver of the vehicle for about an hour by paging her through the store intercom system. Several others canvassed the area, looking for a parent or guardian. After contacting 911, a witness broke a window and removed the child from the car because he was afraid the deputies wouldn’t get there in time. He stated he believed the child was in grave danger.
Lifeguard Ambulance arrived and checked the child for heat exhaustion. The outside temperature was noted at 88 degrees. The child’s internal temperature was 100 degrees, according to police.
While EMS was checking the child, the mother of the child walked up to the vehicle. After initial questioning, the mother was arrested and charged with child neglect.
She was issued a $5000 bond.
Police later determined the suspect gave false information to deputies on scene. The correct identification of the suspect was determined through fingerprinting to be Christin Renee Deam. Investigators said additional charges are pending. DCF was also notified of the incident. The child was released to a relative.