Danville Police Lt. Mark Williams said the incident occurred at 5:30 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 11. Police were notified by a passerby that a 6-month-old male infant was alone in a car seat in a vehicle. On arrival, the officer found the witness and located the vehicle. The child was crying and obviously upset but did not appear to be injured, according to reports.
While the officer was there, a woman identified as Josephine Warneke, 29, of Castro Valley exited the store and told the officer that she would take care of the child and that it was OK for him to leave.
On questioning by police, Warneke confirmed that the child was hers and said she had left him strapped into his carseat because he was asleep and she did not wish to wake him and expose him to the cold.
Warneke was informed that she was being investigated for child abuse. The officer examined the child but did not believe he needed any medical attention. It was estimated that he had been alone in the car for around 30 minutes.
Warneke claimed that since it was not hot outside and temperatures would not pose a threat to the child, it was not child endangerment, said police. The officer disagreed and arrested her on a felony count of child endangerment. The child's father was summoned to the scene and the child was released into his care. Warneke was taken to the Martinez Detention Center for booking.
The case will be investigated by the District Attorney's Office as well as Child Protective Services.