AUSTIN, TX (KXAN) — A mother is now facing charges one year after her two children were described by police as “very hot, sweaty and dirty” when witnesses found them in a locked car outside of a Texas Walmart.
Austin police said Raquel Perez, 26, arrived at the Walmart at 12:48 p.m. on May 5, 2016 with her children, one 21 months old, the other 3 years old.
By watching surveillance cameras at the store, investigators were able to pinpoint her movements.
Perez was viewed on camera shopping in the store and returning to her car to put things in her trunk at 12:55 p.m. She reentered the store and went to the nail salon at 1 p.m.
At 1:55 p.m., witnesses heard the children crying in the backseat of the car and called 911. According to an arrest warrant, the children were in the locked car with the windows rolled down about one inch for at least 75 minutes before they were found.
The witnesses were able to instruct the 3-year-old how to unlock the door and took the children to the store’s security office.
An Austin firefighter who responded to the 911 call took a temperature reading of the car’s interior and found it to be 100 degrees even after the doors were opened for several minutes.
Police said, while they were attending to the situation outside the store, Perez left the nail salon at 2:05 p.m. and was seen walking around inside shoplifting. She did not leave until 2:23 p.m. As she did, she set off the store’s anti-theft devices. She only returned to the store to ask about her children after placing the stolen items in her car, continued in the court documents.
When an officer contacted her nearly a week after the incident she told them she didn’t want to discuss it. Authorities issued an warrant for her arrest on April 4, 2017–nearly a year after the incident.
Perez is not currently in jail. NBC4’s sister station KXAN is working to learn why the Austin Police Department filed official charges against her nearly a year after the incident.
Timeline of events:
12:48 p.m. – Perez parked and walked into the store
12:55 p.m. – Perez left the store and put things in her car
1:00 p.m. – Perez reentered store and went to nail salon
1:55 p.m. – Witnesses called 911 after finding children
2:05 p.m. – Perez left salon, began shoplifting around store
2:23 p.m. – Perez left store, put stolen items in car, returned to store to ask about children