A 16-month-old child was left abandoned in a car that was stolen as the infant’s parents played gambling machines inside a Texas gas station.
According to a release from the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, the child’s mother, identified as 21-year-old Kimberly Cook, told deputies that she and 29-year-old Anthony Blue had left the infant in the vehicle while running into the store.
In surveillance footage obtained by ABC 13, Cook, Blue, and the child can be seen arriving at the convenience store around 9:30 p.m. The couple played a game on a gambling machine for 30 minutes before leaving. They returned an hour later without the child, whom they said left in the car but were checking on periodically.
Suspects Jabari Davis, 18, and Vincent Cannady, 19, could also be seen on video entering the same gas station and asking for directions before leaving the store.
Thirty minutes later, Cook and Blue walked outside to find their Chrysler 300 — with the infant inside — was missing.
The sheriff’s office said in the release that Davis and Cannady saw the car running and took off with it. They left the infant at McGregor Park located in the 5200 block of Calhoun Street.
The Houston Police Department was then called after a Park Ranger found the 16-month-old near a playground. The infant was transported to Texas Children’s Hospital and is in good condition, the sheriff’s office said.
“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,” Kerry Clopton, a representative from Houston Police Department, told ABC 13.
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The Chrysler 300 was located near Loop 610 and Highway 225 a short time later. After a pursuit, Davis and Cannady were taken into custody without incident.
Both men have been charged with auto theft and felony kidnapping. Cook and Blue, meanwhile, face charges of child abandonment.