LA CENTER, Wash. - Police arrested a 32-year-old woman Wednesday after they said she left her almost 4-year-old son in her SUV at a casino for over eight hours.
Police arrested Valerie Tran of Clackamas, Ore. at about 1:30 p.m. at the Palace Casino on Old Pacific Highway. Surveillance video showed her pulling into the casino at 4 a.m., police said.
Workers at the casino got worried after they noticed the SUV had been parked all morning long and into the afternoon with a child inside.
Several police officers were having lunch at the casino when they were informed about the situation by an employee who heard the child crying in the parking lot. Officials at the casino said they did several overhead pages about the child in the car, but no parent came forward.
Sgt. Jerry Lester with the La Center Police Department said the child had food and milk in the SUV but that the milk had soured.
The boy had also repeatedly soiled his diapers and pants.
Tran declined an on-camera interview at her home after being released from jail but said off camera she planned to make a quick in-and-out stop at the casino but lost track of time.
She said it was a one-time mistake, but police said she told them something different.
“(There were) admissions that this wasn’t the first time that it had happened before,” said Lester. “(There were) conflicting statements that it’s happened before.”
The child was taken into protective custody, police said.
Tran is expected to appear in court Thursday.
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