An Icelander was arrested in New Jersey for leaving his two-year-old daughter in his car on a summer day while he and the rest of his family went shopping.
RÚV reports that the family – comprised of the suspect, his wife, his daughter and an older child – were all on vacation in the US. The Mid-Atlantic region has been reporting temperatures upwards of 40°C, and already 22 children have died from the heat after being left behind in cars.
This family stopped at a store in New Jersey, and decided to leave the girl in the car while the rest of them went to shop. Upon returning, they found the police waiting for them.
While the father contended that they had only been in the store for five minutes, security footage would later show that about 20 minutes had actually passed while the girl sat in the car.
The mother and children were sent home, and then sent out of the country, while the father was taken into custody. He was also put on a three-week flight ban after his release.
While declining to take an interview, the father did tell reporters that what he did was “stupid and thoughtless”. If convicted, he could have faced up to five to ten years in prison. Instead, the state prosecution offered to drop the matter on the condition that the father plead guilty and paid a fine. He returned to Iceland on Friday.
The parents say that they are glad the matter is over, and had been cautious to protect their children from the heat the entire time they were in the US, only to make one stupid mistake towards the end of their trip.