VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – Three children, including a baby, found in the back of a moving U-Haul with the latch partially opened were sweating and breathing heavily when deputies got to them, according to the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies said they spotted the box truck Wednesday afternoon and noticed that the back wasn’t fully closed, giving them a glimpse inside where a 7-month-old was sitting in a bouncer not far from the edge.
A traffic stop was conducted and three hot, sweaty children ranging in age from 7 months to 4 years were removed from the truck and put in patrol cars with air conditioning since they were breathing heavily and needed to be cooled down to prevent heat stroke or shock, records show.
The enclosed back of the truck was not air conditioned and it was 91 degrees out, according to the affidavit. Deputies said the children had traveled in the back for nearly 4 miles before they were removed.
Marisol Mendez, the mother of the children, was also in the back of the truck and said she believed the baby was safer in the bouncing chair than he or she would have been in a car seat, which was also in the back of the truck, according to authorities.
Fernando Cruz, Elia Cerrano Carrillo and Veronica Mendez were in the front seat of the truck, records show.
All four adults were arrested on child abuse charges.
The Department of Children and Families was contacted and the three children were put in the custody of another adult.