Arica Jenee Ayala, 27, an Anaheim mom, pleaded guilty on Thursday to misdemeanor child abuse and endangerment for leaving her 4-year-old son in the car for about two hours while she shopped at the MainPlace Mall, according to the O.C. Register.
Ayala was sentenced to 60 days in jail for leaving her son at the Santa Ana MainPlace Mall parking lot, in an unattended vehicle on Tuesday.
The SAPD received a phone call from a witness at around 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday regarding the child who was left alone in Ayala’s vehicle since 7:50 p.m.
The SAPD police officers who were dispatched to the scene found the little boy crying and screaming in a car seat in an unlocked vehicle. The toddler told them that he had been left alone by his mother.
MainPlace Mall security personnel made an announcement via the Mall’s loudspeakers and the SAPD police officers also checked the Anaheim residential address that the vehicle was registered to, but they could not find Ayala.
Finally at around 9:30 p.m. Ayala came out of the mall, with shopping bags from Nordstrom. She told the police that she had left her little boy inside her vehicle with her sister and that she had been gone for only 20 minutes.
However Ayala later confessed that there was no sister and she had in fact forgotten her son in her car.
She later said there was no sister, and she forgot her son was in the car, he said.
The SAPD’s investigators were not able to find the little boy’s father or any relatives. For the time being the unfortunate toddler is being kept at the Orangewood Children and Family Center.