An Alabama woman facing charges after allegedly leaving her 17-month-old in a car appeared in court Thursday, but not before flashing an obscene gesture to the gathered media.
Inside the court, Ereka Shardae Thomas, 20, had quite a different demeanor.
According to the Broward Sheriff’s Office, deputies came to the 2300 block of West Sample Road in Deerfield Beach after witnesses called 911 to report the toddler alone. The toddler was also said to not be secured in a car seat.
Thomas' public defender explained her actions saying, "Miss Thomas was at Workforce One, which will be an indicator that she was actually trying to find employment.”
BSO deputies said the car was registering as hot as 100 degrees on the dashboard while the child was alone in the car, but couldn’t say whether or not the car, a 2004 Oldsmobile Alero, was locked.
Deputies said Thomas was away from the car for between 10 and 20 minutes and when she was questioned told them she went inside a building to use the bathroom.
“The child could have been snatched by somebody walking down the street, that is probably the main concern,” Judge John Hurley said Thursday.
The state took custody of Thomas’ child, which left her in tears. While walking in a hallway outside of the courtroom Thomas gave a brief comment saying, “I didn’t neglect my child and I love him.”
It's unclear who has custody of the child, the father is living in Alabama.
Thomas faces a felony charge of child neglect without great bodily harm and is being held on no bond due to a probation violation.