Officer breaks window, frees child from parked car
Police say a concerned customer’s call for help led to the rescue of a small child from a locked car and aggravated child abuse and neglect charges for the car’s owner on Saturday.
Deborah Oaks Silver, 56, 71 Pineola Baptist Church Road, Newland, N.C., was arrested by the Elizabethton Police Department and charged with aggravated child abuse/neglect by the Elizabethton Police Department.
EPD officers responded to Wal-Mart’s parking lot on Saturday afternoon after a customer called 911 and reported seeing a girl left in her car seat unattended in a locked 2006 gray Nissan Xterra.
In the incident report by EPD Patrol Officer Joe Holsclaw, he wrote the 2-year-old girl did not respond when he hit the car’s window with his hand as hard as he could. He then used his baton to shatter the window to unlock the vehicle and remove the child.
EPD Patrol Officer Dustin Johnson and Sgt. Shane Darling unbuckled the toddler from her car seat where, Holsclaw wrote, she was “still unresponsive. Her skin was dry, red and hot to the touch indicating heat exhaustion or early heat stroke.”
When the child was placed in the EPD cruiser she became a little more alert. Holsclaw wrote that as officers continued to work with the child, they were approached by a woman, later identified as Silver, “screaming she wanted to know what was going on.”
After Holsclaw determined the vehicle belonged to Silver, he informed her a customer had contacted 911 out of concern for the child.
“She asked me who had busted her window and I advised her that I did due to the child’s physical state, but she seemed more interested in the car than the child, stating she was just asleep and she had only been in the store for a minute,” Holsclaw wrote in the report.
Holsclaw reviewed outside video of the Wal-Mart parking lot which showed the Xterra arrived in the parking lot at 4:32 p.m. EPD arrived on scene at 4:42 p.m. with a dispatch time of 4:38 p.m.
The child was transported by rescue squad to Niswonger Children’s Hospital to wait for her parents to arrive and for the Department of Children’s Services team.
Silver is scheduled to appear in Carter County General Sessions Court on Aug. 4.