Woman jailed after 4-year-old found in hot car

Tanya Lopez

 A Hephzibah woman whose 4-year-old daughter was found in her locked vehicle said she didn’t know the child was in the SUV.

Richmond County sheriff’s Sgt. Dan Carrier said a passer-by saw the child buckled in a Subaru Forester at Bi-Lo, 3457 Peach Orchard Road, around 4 p.m. Monday. The store manager contacted police.

Tanya Lopez, 31, told authorities the child must have sneaked into the SUV and buckled herself into the seat.

The child was taken to Medical College of Georgia Hospital and treated for dehydration.

Carrier estimates the girl was in the vehicle for about 20 minutes before being found. Deputies did not test to see how hot the interior of the car was, but according to the National Weather Service, temperatures reached a high of 95 degrees Monday in Augusta.

Lopez was booked into the Richmond County jail on charges of depravation of a minor. Carrier said Lopez was not charged with cruelty to children because there would be no long-term effects on the child’s health.

Lopez has been released on bond.

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