A 25-year-old woman named Yasmin Abdulee has been arrested after police say she left a nonverbal adult woman with autism in a locked car for 40 minutes in 90-plus-degree heat.
According to police, the victim has the mental capacity of a four-year-old and should not have been left alone. Yasmin, however, allegedly left her in a locked car with the engine off and the windows rolled up in Phoenix for more than 40 minutes while she went inside a building to do some personal shopping.
The weather was about 93 degrees Fahrenheit at the time, so the car quickly heated up to about 128 to 133 degrees. When police arrived at the vehicle, they could see that the victim, who appeared to have Down Syndrome, still had her seatbelt on and was sweating. They tried to get her to unlock the door, but she seemed confused and could not follow their instructions.
Because the woman was sweating and appeared distressed, the police alerted firefighters, who came and got her out of the car. She was soaking wet with sweat and visibly shaking when she was released from the vehicle. Emergency personnel transported her to a nearby hospital, where she was found to be severely dehydrated.
Officers then went inside the store, where they found Yasmin. She told them that she is a caregiver at a group home for adults and that she thought the weather was nice enough to leave the woman outside while she did some shopping.
Yasmin was arrested and charged with reckless vulnerable adult abuse.
Luckily, adults are less susceptible to heat than young children are, so the victim escaped without experiencing lasting damage. However, the heat still could have been a real danger to her health and life if she had been left in the car much longer.
Experts warn that leaving children or vulnerable adults outside in a car can be dangerous even in cooler temperatures. “A lot of people don’t realize that, in the high 50s, low 60s, children have actually died in hot cars because the temperature spikes very quickly. It can go up to 40 to 50 degrees higher than the outside temperature in about an hour or so,” says Janette Fennell of KidsandCars.org, a national non-profit that works to keep kids safe inside and around vehicles.
“I think everyone gets comfortable when the weather starts to be really nice, and be able to come outside, and just forget that 90 or 85 is still too warm to leave someone,” says Sgt. Mercedes Fortune with the Phoenix Police Department. “It could really cost them their life.”
We do not know at this time what will happen regarding Yasmin Abdulee’s employment status or the charges filed against her.
Source: The Autism Site Blog