Santa Ana Police Department
Arrested: Arica Jenee Ayala (27) Anaheim
At approximately 8:30 pm, officers responded to a parking lot located at the Main Place Mall, 2800 block of North Main Street, regarding a child left unattended inside a vehicle. A witness advised the involved vehicle arrived at approximately 7:50 pm.
Officers found a 4 year-old male sitting in a car seat, crying and screaming. The doors to the vehicle had been left unlocked. The child told officers his mother left him alone in the car. Mall security made announcements over their P.A. system and officers checked the registered owner’s address in Anaheim and were unable to locate anyone.
At 9:30 pm after the mall had closed for business, a female carrying a number of shopping bags contacted officers. The female identified as Arica Jenee Ayala, the child’s mother, initially told officers she had left her sister with her son and was only gone for 20 minutes. She later admitted there was no sister and she forgot her son was in the back seat of the car.
The female was arrested and transported to SAPD Jail where she was booked for CPC 273 a(a), Willful Cruelty to a Child: Possible Injury/Death. Officers attempted to locate the child’s father or another responsible family member, with negative results. The child was taken to Orangewood.
The Santa Ana Police Department wants to remind everyone that leaving a child unattended in a motor vehicle may be tempting if you are merely making a mad dash into the store, however, there are laws against this practice. When you leave a child in a vehicle without proper supervision, you and your child are at risk of both physical and legal penalties.