May 18, 2010 – My youngest daughter had been rushed by ambulance to the local hospital after having a seizure. She saw a child neurologist and her pediatrician prior to her upcoming weekend visit with her father, Seth. I was terrified to turn her over to Seth as the instructions from ER, pediatrician and neurologist were very clear– (and provided to him in writing): she was NEVER to be left unattended. Not for a single moment. They even recommended that we sleep with her at night until further testing was completed.
May 20, 2010: I reached out to Seth’s mom because he wasn’t responding to my request to talk prior to the visit nor was he responding to my emails. Seth’s mom, Cleo, asked me to send over the instructions and that she would ensure that he received them.
May 21-23 was his weekend visitation. Seth claimed to have read the instructions at the custody exchange and I reiterated that she could not be left alone. I had printed out the email with instructions and handed them to Seth before I left the exchange location.
At the end of the weekend, I was ecstatic to pick up the girls. As the girls climbed into my car, this is what I heard:
“Mom…Daddy did something really bad this weekend” were the first words that I heard when my 5-year-old daughter got into my car after a weekend visitation. I cringed. ‘What did he do?” I asked her. “He left (youngest daughter) in the car alone for a very long time“, she answered.
I notified our court case worker and our daughter’s neurologist– both reported him to Child Welfare Services.
I was hopeful– hopeful that someone was investigating and would protect my daughters.
Admittedly, Seth took our daughters to the local athletic club where Tour de California was being aired on television. He parked in the shade–with the windows cracked and he left our daughter alone in the car. Reports on the time frame vary from witnesses– estimated between 30-45 minutes. One written statement from an employee at the club stated that he checked on her “about every 10 minutes”. It was beyond painful to imagine my baby sleeping alone in a car—just days after being released from the hospital. This experience only heightened my fears about Seth’s priorities and the safety of our children.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, Seth actually admitted that he left the athletic club and drove to a sports bar where he left her in the car again. At the sports bar, my daughter stayed alone in the car while he ordered dinner and watched sports and when the food came, he finally went out to get her. In the interview with the case worker, my five year old daughter referenced another time that Seth left them alone in the house and went to a coffee shop.
The very agency that was designed to protect my daughters failed them miserably. The following is what the social worker wrote in her report:
Outcome of the investigation: Seth was provided literature regarding leaving children unattended in automobiles.
Assessment: No safety threats were identified at this time. Based on the current available information, the children are not likely to be in immediate danger of serious harm. “He” demonstrated poor judgment when leaving his child unattended in the car. “He” expressed sincere remorse and has made a commitment to never do this again.