Mom left 7-year-old alone at movies, found drunk at home, Altamonte police say

Woman charged with child neglect

Carolina Uchoa.
Carolina Uchoa.

ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. – Altamonte Springs police have charged a mother with child neglect after they say she left a 7-year-old boy alone at the movies for hours on Thursday afternoon to go drink with friends.

Carolina Uchoa was arrested after taking her son, Valentino, to a movie at The Picture Show on East Altamonte Drive and leaving him during the movie, according to the report.

Police said Valentino went outside after the movie and couldn't find his mother or her car, but had her purse and phone, but didn't know the lock code to make calls.

"He was wandering around the parking lot looking for her car," said the boy's father, Jorge Hernandez.

Hernandez said Valentino hid in the movie theater for more than 3 hours.

When Hernandez called Valentino's mother to see how the day was going, Valentino answered the phone and told him he didn't know where his mother was.

Hernandez left work and went to pick up Valentino, police said.

According to the report, the boy told his father that Uchoa was drinking "mean juice," which is their code word for alcohol.

"He recognizes it as mean juice because he says whenever she drinks that she does mean, nasty things," Hernandez said.

Police said Uchoa's mother was contacted by Hernandez in an effort to find Uchoa. Uchoa's mother told police that she drove back from Key West when she found out her daughter left the movies and got a hold of Uchoa, who sounded heavily intoxicated and offered to pick her up.

Uchoa was picked up at a friend's house at Waterside at Crane's Roost apartments and her mother took her to the police department to turn herself in, according to the report.

Uchoa told officers that nothing happened and she was "just hanging out."

The Department of Children and Families was called to investigate and Uchoa was booked into the Seminole County jail. She was ordered to not have contact with any children, including her son, at her first appearance.

Uchoa will remain in jail on no bond for violating her probation.

Hernandez said they've had drama in the past, but he couldn't deny Uchoa visits with their son unless a judge says so.

"I don't know how to put this because it sounds horrible," Hernandez said. "I've already pictured having to identify him because of his mom. That's how bad things have gotten."

Police said. Uchoa was on probation on driving under the influence charges.