Woman charged in leaving children in hot car


A 20-year-old Eastern Shore woman was arrested yesterday afternoon and charged with leaving her two children in a car for nearly an hour in extreme heat at a convenience store parking lot.

The woman refused to move the children to a cooler area, despite pleas from onlookers at the store in Mardela Springs, about eight miles west of Salisbury, the Wicomico County Sheriff's Office said.

Julie Porter of Baptist Church Road in Mardela Springs was charged with two counts of child abuse, two counts of reckless endangerment and disorderly conduct, the sheriff's office said. She was being held last night pending a bail hearing before a court commissioner.

Deputy sheriffs were called to Mardela One-Stop on U.S. 50 about 2:15 p.m. Witnesses said the children -- a 2-year-old boy and a 1-year-old girl -- had been inside the car for 45 minutes. It could not be determined if the car windows were rolled up.

The children "had been exposed to extreme heat . . . for an extended period of time," a sheriff's office statement said. The temperature at that time was 92 degrees, the statement added.

"The suspect refused to move the children to a cooler climate after it had been offered by concerned citizens," the statement said. "The children appeared to be in need of medical assistance."

An employee at Mardela One-Stop, who said last night that she was not working when the incident occurred, said the clerk who called the sheriff's office did not want to talk to reporters.

Sheriff's deputies took the two children, who they did not name, to Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury, where they were evaluated by doctors and the county Department of Social Services.

The children, who were released a short time later, had suffered no apparent injuries, according to the sheriff's office.

They were being cared for by a family member last night.

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