SHELBY, N.C. - A Shelby police officer saved a child’s life Wednesday, jumping into action after shoppers saw a baby left in a hot car in a grocery store parking lot.
One woman told FOX 46 it was chaos inside and outside the Aldi’s as people did two things: first get the baby out and then figure out who left her there.
"The sun was shining directly on the baby. Her hair was wet. There was sweat rolling down her cheek as well,” said Officer John Hamrick with the Shelby Police Department.
Officer Hamrick says it's a moment he'll never forget: He looked into a car, only to find an 8-month-old baby asleep in a hot car
"Most of the guys on this shift have young kids still so it hits home and there's been a lot of talk so we made it there very quickly within 3.5 minutes,” Hamrick said.
Police say the baby was first discovered by shoppers, but it was a bystander that helped Officer Hamrick pry open the door. Shortly after the rescue, police learned it was the young girl’s father who had left her in the car, 26-year-old Seth Cuthbertson.
“He stated that he forgot all together," Officer Hamrick said. "If it was not for all those folks there's no telling how long he would have been in there shopping.”
The little girl was discovered within minutes of being left, but it still took close to 15 minutes to get her out.
"You put them in the car so how do you forget to get them out of the car? That's irresponsible,” shopper Asia Knox said.
Knox was carrying a baby the same age as the little girl. She says it’s hard to imagine forgetting, knowing what could happen.
"It's hot outside so the heat index inside the car is obviously high. They can easily have a heat stroke, pass out easily. Anything can happen," Knox said.
The little girl was taken to the hospital, but is expected to be OK. Cuthbertson was arrested and charged with child abuse.