Arizona mom charged for leaving kids alone in car while at job interview

By: NBC News
By: NBC News

SCOTTSDALE, AZ (NBC)-- It's a response Shanesha Taylor never expected, thousands of people in a huge outpouring of support now that her story has gone viral.

Shanesha was taken into custody after Scottsdale police found her 2-year-old and 6-month old sons left in a car unattended.

According to the police report, the windows were rolled down about an inch, both children were sweating profusely and appeared to be in distress. The report estimates the temperature in the car was over 100 degrees. Shanesha was charged with two counts of child abuse. She pleaded not guilty. Her lawyer says she's the victim.

"...of a system, an economic system which has affected her and affected her children," said Taylor's lawyer, Benjamin Taylor.

When police found the children, Shanesha, an unemployed mother, was at a job interview in the building next door.

The story of a poor mother, looking for work, with no safe place to leave her children hit a nerve. More than 25,000 people have signed an online petition asking the county attorney to drop the charges, and a fundraising drive for Shanesha, started by a New Jersey woman, has already brought in more than $110,000.

"It's just a matter of what is more wrong here. The fact that she did this or the fact that there are so many people out there who are being put in this position to make this decision," said Amanda Bishop, who organized the fund.

But officials say leaving small children, unattended, in a hot car, is never the right answer.

"This cannot be allowed even for a moment," said Dr. Franco Castro-Marin, Scottsdale Medical Director for Public Safety.

The Maricopa County Attorney stands by the charges.

"Their motivation for it is not relevant at this point in time. It's whether or not the conduct occurred," said Maricopa County Attorney, Bill Montgomery.

But her supporters say this is not a crime of child abuse, its a crime of desperation.

"She's remorseful about what happened, but she's a single mom seeking employment - seeking a better life for her family for her kids. She's not a criminal, she made a mistake, but she's not a criminal," Taylor's lawyer said.

Shanesha is free on a a $9,000 bond, but is not reunited with her children. Doctors determined they were uninjured and now they're staying in what her lawyer describes as "a safe location".

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