Mother charged after baby left in car at Sam's Club in Southgate

Baby left in car in freezing temperatures

By Larry Spruill - Reporter

SOUTHGATE, Mich. - The incident was caught on camera as an infant was left in a car in freezing temperatures while the mother was inside shopping at Sam’s Club in Southgate.

Flash forward to Monday, and the child’s mother, Jamie Stefanko, appeared in court to be formally charged with child abuse.

Stefanko faced a judge for the first time after being arrested for leaving her infant inside her car.

Local 4 was in the courtroom as Judge James Kandrevas listed her charges.

"Count one charges that you did knowingly or intentionally commit the act or acts that under the circumstances posed an unreasonable risk or harm or physical injuries to a child by leaving a child unattended in a vehicle,” Kandrevas said.

It's a misdemeanor charge with a possible punishment of one year in jail and/or five years of probation.

Stefanko is also facing another charge of child abuse.

"A child under the age of 6 years old, unattended in a vehicle for approximately 55 minutes in a period of time, causing an unreasonable risk of harm,” Kandrevas said.

The second charge is also a misdemeanor, with a possible punishment of up to 93 days in jail or a $500 fine.

Police found the baby inside the car after shoppers called 911. Stefanko told police at the scene that it was all a mistake and she didn't want to wake the baby.

Local 4 tried to ask Stefanko questions after the hearing, but she avoided our questions. She is still out on a $500 bond. She’s also not allowed to drink, do drugs or have possession of a gun.

She will be back in court March 23.

She still has custody of her two kids.

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