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Children left in hot SUV at Indiana Walmart; couple arrested

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An Indiana couple is facing felony criminal charges after allegedly leaving two children in a vehicle police say reached 125 degrees inside while they went shopping.

The Lawrence Police Department reported officers responded to a retail business on Monday after a passerby saw the children in distress inside an SUV and called 911.

According to a police report obtained by USA TODAY, the incident took place at around 7 p.m. outside a Walmart northeast of Indianapolis.

The high temperature that day in the city reached 93 degrees, the National Weather Service reported.

Per the report, the children − one an infant − were left in a locked Ford Edge not running and without air conditioning while store cameras revealed their parents shopped in the store for nearly 45 minutes.

Officers reported they found one child “sweating profusely from his head and neck” and the other was “quiet and seemed dazed, not sweating at all.”

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Parents arrested on child neglect charges

Two adults, who arrived at their SUV about the time officers did, were arrested at the scene, the report continues, and booked into the Marion County Jail on two counts each of neglect of a dependent.

Their children were turned over to the care of the Department of Children’s Services, according to the report.

“We are pleased to report that the children are OK and this situation had the best outcome possible,” Lawrence Police Department Capt. Michael Sostre said.

Children who have died in hot cars since 1990

Sostre said the case remained under investigation Thursday and official charges are pending with the Marion County Prosecutors Office.

It was not immediately known if the children’s parents had obtained attorneys.

According to kidsandcars.org, at least 1,085 children have died in hot cars since 1990 in the United States and so far this year at least two have died.

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See a child or pet in a vehicle? Call 911, police say

Although the agency is not investigating the case, on Thursday morning the Indianapolis Police Department posted on X, reminding people never to leave pets or children in cars on hot days.

“Temperatures inside an unattended vehicle can reach over 115 degrees when its only 70 degrees outside!” the agency wrote. “If you see a child or pet in a vehicle, call 911 immediately.”

Indiana State Police also issued a statement warning about the dangers of hot car deaths on the department’s Facebook page.

“The Indiana State Police Bloomington District wants to remind Hoosier parents and pet owners of the extreme dangers of high temperatures and leaving an unattended child and/or pet in a hot vehicle. Never leave an unattended child or pet in a vehicle even with the windows cracked and make it a habit to check the entire vehicle before walking away.”

Natalie Neysa Alund is a senior reporter for USA TODAY. Reach her at nalund@usatoday.com and follow her on X @nataliealund.

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