WATCH: Baby found in hot car by Children's Assessment Center


by By Courtney Zubowski / 11 News

Posted on August 15, 2009 at 4:38 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 20 at 11:11 AM

HOUSTON -- CPS is investigating a case of a baby left in a hot car at a center designed to protect children from child abuse.

Baby found in hot car by Children's Assessment Center
June 11, 2009

Last Tuesday, a baby was found in the backseat of a car in the parking garage of the Children's Assessment Center in Rice Village. The child is nearly a year old. It was in a car seat.

Julie Ketterman found the baby in the car while at the Children's Assessment Center for an appointment.

"It wasn't a little whimper. This baby was screaming," said Julie Ketterman, who happens to be an attorney who specializes in cases that deal with children.

"I stood there for a moment and I kept hearing this baby. So I started looking in cars and it was getting louder. I found the baby left in a car," Ketterman said.

The Houston attorney says one window was rolled down about a third of the way. She opened the unlocked door to get the baby girl out of the car.

"Her whole back was wet from sweat from being in the car seat and I remember looking at the temperature in my car and it was about 87 degrees," said Ketterman.

Ketterman rushed inside the center and met a case worker at the front door. She quickly learned that she wasn't the only one who heard the baby crying.

"Three CAC employees and one HPD officer, a female officer, all told me that they heard the baby crying, but they had just walked on by," she said. "They assumed, as I did initially, that somebody was with the baby, but none of them stopped to investigate."

Tammy Urban, a spokesperson for the center, said she could not confirm if anyone who works at the CAC heard the baby crying.

Urban said police and CPS investigators working in the building were called immediately.

"We feel that the situation was handled appropriately. We accessed the appropriate resources in the community for this family," Urban said.

She says the center is using this as a learning experience.

"We were surprised that this did happen in our parking garage," Urban said. "We are a children's center that is here to protect and be a safe haven for children. It was a wake-up call for us to realize that it can happen anywhere."

She has a warning for all parents or anyone taking care of a child.

"We cannot leave our children in a car, not for 30 seconds, not for five minutes, not in a covered parking lot, not in a shaded parking lot. Houston's heat and humidity is too hot," Urban said.

The little girl is ok. Police say a relative left the baby in the car. They called the baby's mother who picked her up.

Detectives launched an investigation, but say the Harris County District Attorney's Office did not accept charges.

CPS is still investigating.