HANOVER, Md. (WJLA) - A Baltimore woman was arrested on New Years Eve after police say she left her four-year-old daughter locked in a car all day at Maryland Live! Casino.
Police say Alicia Brown, 24, stashed her young child in an SUV for more than eight hours. A casino security officer heard screams and spotted the child on the 4th floor of a Maryland Live! parking garage sobbing, freezing and terribly confused.
"The first thing I did when I got the message was gasp," Anne Arundel County Police spokesman Lt. T.J. Smith said. "We don't do this to animals, we certainly shouldn't do this to children."
Casino security cameras captured Brown driving into the parking garage around 10 a.m. Tuesday. The Baltimore resident reportedly placed blankets over the windows of her white GMC Terrain to hide her daughter from passersby.
The 24-year-old then entered the casino and gambled without checking on her child's well-being once. When she finally emerged from the casino floor at 6:30 p.m., police officers and security guards were surrounding her car. Brown was quickly placed under arrest.
Authorities say the young girl told security officers that her mom had told her she would "be right back."
"I was asked earlier if she gave an excuse for this. Personally I don't care what her excuse is, there's no reason to leave a four-year-old child inside of a cold vehicle," Lt. Smith added.
Before she was arrested, officials say that Brown originally wondered out loud where her 17-year-old cousin was, as she was apparently supposed to be watching the girl. Brown quickly recanted that statement.
With the temperature at the time of the girl's discovery just 2 degrees above freezing, paramedics transported the pre-schooler to Baltimore Washington Medical Center. Doctors there found the youngster to be cold and hungry, but in good health. She was released to her grandmother.
"It's a case of darn right not caring," Arundel Mills Mall shopper Nick Choobineh remarked. "It's your child, it's your flesh and blood. I mean a couple of dice and a couple of cards in a casino game are worth more than a child? That woman is not worthy of being a mother."
"Who would do such a thing," Arundel Mills Mall shopper Pam Teal asked rhetorically. "A small child in the car for eight hours? That's terrible. If she's in jail, she's in the right place right now."
Brown, who has no record of child abuse, lives in the 2100 block of Chelsea Terrace in Baltimore's Mt. Holly neighborhood. When an ABC7 news crew knocked on Brown's door Wednesday, a woman answered and claimed she didn't know the incarcerated mother.
"I have two daughters, but their name is not no Alicia Brown," the woman said through a cracked front door.
Brown is charged with second degree child abuse, confining an unattended child and neglect of a minor. She is being held at an Anne Arundel County detention center awaiting her bond hearing. It's unclear if she has any other children.
"A four-year-old child gets upset when you go downstairs, let alone left in a car all day long. This is parental selfishness, absolute stupidity, just reckless abandonment," Lt. Smith concluded.