Mother has warning for parents after arrest for leaving child in car

Maranda Vaden
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An Indianapolis mother is facing charges for leaving her seven-year-old alone in the car while she went into a store. The car wound up being towed with the child still inside last weekend.

The Marion County prosecutor has charged the mother, Robyn Hardy, with neglect. Tow truck driver Jason Gosset is facing a charge of criminal recklessness for not checking to see if anyone was inside the car.

Meanwhile, another mother who also went to jail for leaving her child in a car alone, has a message for parents: Don't do it, not even for a few minutes.

"They had been sick for the past couple of days," said Talisha Evans, sitting on the couch with six-month-old Ayden while twin sister Ana slept nearby.

Evans drove her six-month-old twins to the west side Meijer last Thursday. She made a critical decision that changed their lives.

"I will take her with me and leave him in there and we'll go in, get our items, come out and go home," said Evans, describing her decision at the time.

After coming out of the Meijer, Evans knew right away she had made the mistake of her life. An officer told her she was going to jail and placed her in handcuffs. Evans had never been in any legal trouble before.

Police had noticed Ayden through the tinted windows alone in her SUV. Evans was booked at the county jail.

She has her children back, but still has to prove to social workers it will never happen again.

Evans now has an active CPS case. Social workers placed the twins and her two other children with her mother for several days. Now she is working with CPS to close the file concerning her parenting skills, which had never come into question before the Meijer incident.

In a separate case, someone flagged down police at the Lafayette Road Walmart after finding a seven-year-old girl and three boys, ages four, two and four months old, alone in the car. Officers arrested 29-year-old Maranda Vaden in that case.

Police also got a call from a tow truck driver who towed a car from a Family Dollar store with a seven-year-old boy left inside alone. That landed his mother Robyn Hardy in jail.

"It's never safe to leave children alone in a car no matter what time of day," said Ann Houseworth, Child Protective Services.

Houseworth also warns parents to teach emergency steps to children old enough to go unsupervised and adds that parents need to be smart about leaving children in charge of other children.

"Sometimes an 11-year-old is appropriate and sometimes not. It's just based on the maturity of the child," said Houseworth.

"Given this whole experience, don't do it. Just don't do it," said Evans.

Children as young as 11 years old can take part in the "safe sitter" program. It teaches babysitters how to handle emergencies including simple first aid.

The nationwide Safe Sitter program started in Indianapolis in 1980. It teaches almost 35,000 students a year how to be better babysitters. Learn more about the program.