Texas couple accused of leaving toddler in running car to play slot machines

Couple leaves toddler in car to play slot machines; car is stolen with toddler inside, police say

A Texas couple left their 16-month-old son in a running car to play slot machines at a convenience store Sunday night, then left the store 30 minutes later to find their vehicle stolen from the parking lot, authorities said.

The child was later found wandering at a Harris County park nearly 20 miles away, shivering in the cold, KTRK reported.

The parents -- Kimberly Cook, 21, and Anthony Blue, 29 -- were charged with child endangerment, KHOU reported.

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Jabari Davis, 18, and Vincent Cannady, 19, were accused of stealing the Chrysler 300, according to KTRK. Davis was charged with kidnapping, auto theft and felony evading. Cannady was charged with auto theft and kidnapping, the television station reported.

The incident occurred around midnight at a Shell gasoline station in Humble, KRPC reported. According to the television station, the store clerk said Cook and Blue were playing slot machines for nearly 30 minutes while the child was asleep in his car seat in the running vehicle. The clerk said the couple are frequent customers and sometimes bring the child into the store.

When Cook and Blue left the store, they realized their child and vehicle were missing. Authorities were called to search for the stolen car.

About 12:25 a.m., a ranger at McGregor Park, located 17 miles from the Shell station, was locking the park when he noticed the toddler walking through the parking lot, shivering in his onesie, KRTK reported.

“It’s pretty chilly out here and a lot of wild animals running around out there. Things could’ve ended very differently had the park ranger not come by here and located the baby,” Officer Kerry Clopton, of the Houston Police Department, told reporters.

Harris County deputies and Houston police were able to locate the stolen vehicle, and after a brief chase, apprehended the two men around 1 a.m., KPRC reported.

Cook and Blue were reunited with their son at the police station before being charged, and the child was released to his grandparents, the television station reported.

A toddler was all right after he was found wandering in a local park. The boy was inside a car that was stolen as his parents were playing slot machines at a gas station.
A toddler was all right after he was found wandering in a local park. The boy was inside a car that was stolen as his parents were playing slot machines at a gas station. (Gerd Altmann/Pixabay)