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Mother Charged After Leaving 4 Kids Alone in Hot Car at Walmart

Woman "did not seem to care," according to the incident report.

Arlete Njonjo Makoudjo. WSB-TV screenshot
Arlete Njonjo Makoudjo. WSB-TV screenshot

Add Gwinnett County to the growing list of metro Atlanta children being left in hot cars by their parents.

Gwinnett Police say an Atlanta mom was charged with four counts of reckless conduct after her four children — ages 1 month to 5 years — were found alone in her vehicle parked at a Norcross-area Walmart on Jimmy Carter Boulevard.

All four children were OK, police said. The doors were unlocked and a window and door were opened by bystanders when police arrived.

According to the police incident report, Arlete Njonjo Makoudjo, 31, of 1211 Brook Court Avenue in Atlanta, was arrested around 8 p.m. Friday, July 11. She said she was inside the store buying a bicycle air pump.

Makoudjo “asked what the big deal was with leaving the children, unattended, inside the vehicle while she shopped,” according to the report. She was released the next day after posting bail, according to Gwinnett County jail records.

Police said two of the children in the car were crying loudly; the infant girl was covered in sweat.

A passerby — John Dunkley of Norcross — called police to report the incident. He told WSB-TV the mother came out to the car about a half-hour after he called police.

According to the incident report, Makoudjo came out of the store to find her vehicle surrounded by police officers and EMS personnel.

“Arlete did not seem to care that the large crowd was there attending to her children and tried to get in the car,” the incident report stated.

She was asked by officers why she left the children in the car. “Arlete did not seem to care and said she was shopping inside.”

The children were left in the custody of a grandparent.

There have been other reports this summer of kids being left in hot cars in Georgia, the most tragic being the June 18 death of 2-year-old Cooper Harris in Cobb County. The boy died in the car as his father Justin Ross Harris worked all day. Justin Harris has been charged with felony murder.

This week, Courtney Kidd was charged after he left his 3-month-old daughter in his parked car at the Clayton County courthouse. A Good Samaritan reportedly rescued the child. Kidd mistakenly thought babies could not be brought into the courthouse.

Dame Bridgid July 17, 2014 at 12:19 PM
Sadly, they do not teach home economics in middle schools anymore, Greg Barrett. They should start doing that again. There are a lot of life skills that were taught 30 years ago. We had professional level sewing, cooking, and woodworking classes. Consumer education, nutrition, and basic child care skills were also included. I also learned about managing my personal finances; like how to create a budget, using a checking/savings account, plus information about loans(including mortgages). This woman could have benefited from the basic child care class!
Pam J July 17, 2014 at 12:51 PM
I have to say, there are a lot of personal attacks going on here. We all agree that what she did was wrong. Any other comments we make are all personal opinions. If you don't like someone's opinion, please don't make nasty, horrible remarks about that person. If you do, it just shows me that you need to do that to feel better about yourselves.
alan donahue July 18, 2014 at 02:59 PM
Marinela and Dame should be locked in a car with Enrique Iglesias. No one agrees with your terrible ideas and opinions. You deserve to be punished for such wrongheaded, ideological antitethetical impossiblenessism.
Debi Dugger July 18, 2014 at 03:07 PM
Dame...no one should have to "teach" a parent not to leave kids locked in a hot car!! The schools are not responsible for everything!!!

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