Mother arrested after leaving children in hot car

Heather Query

INDIANAPOLIS - A mother remains in jail after police say she knowingly endangered her two little boys by leaving them alone in a car with temperatures approaching 100 degrees.

A total stranger found them in a parking lot outside a Kroger store on Southport Road.

"They were screaming and crying. The oldest one was just pushing against the windows, just screaming, screaming, screaming. Face just blood red, tears coming down his face," says Heather Elliott, who found the boys, ages four and one, in that car.

Elliot says her motherly instinct went into overdrive.

"You just do what you have to do," she says.

And what she says she was about to do was try and get into the car and get those boys out.

"They looked like they had been there for a long time," Elliott adds.

But before she could do that, Elliott says 21-year-old Heather Query, the boys' mom, came out of the south side Kroger.

"I said, 'How long were you in there?' and she said, 'Excuse me?' I said, 'How long were you in that store?' I said 'It's 100 degrees outside," recounts Elliott. "She said, 'What do you care? Mind your own business' and she started cussing and came around the car and told me to mind my own business and then I said, 'I'm just concerned about your kids. I'm just thinking about the safety of your kids'."

And then came something Elliott says she never expected.

"She punched me and just kept coming and going so I just kept pushing back," Elliott explains.

Someone called police.

"I think it was 97 degrees heat index outside at that time," says IMPD Officer Anthony Schneider. "It's never suggested to leave your children in the car unattended first of all, let alone unattended when the heat index is a high as it was yesterday."

Despite her bruised jaw, Elliott says she'd do the same thing again.

"An adult, an animal, a child. I'd do it again. You don't think about it. You just do it. It's something that has to be done," Elliott adds.

Especially when the alternative, says Elliott, could have meant two helpless children losing their lives.

Eyewitness News talked with the maternal grandparents of the little boys. They didn't want to go on camera, but the boys' grandmother told us she'd have done the same thing Elliott did if she'd seen two children locked in a hot car alone.

Query will be in court on charges of child neglect and battery with injury this Thursday.