What to Know
- A New Jersey mother is facing charges after she left her toddler sleeping in a car at a shopping center parking lot
- Signs there warn drivers the parking is for customers only; the woman was going to a bank nearby
- She called 911 and police found her at a nearby towing lot. She was safely reunited with her daughter
A New Jersey mother has been charged with abuse, abandonment and neglect of a child after she allegedly left her sleeping toddler in a parking lot while she went to make a deposit at a nearby bank, police say.
Yuqing Jiang, 46, parked her car in the parking lot of a shopping center near a Chase Bank in Fort Lee Monday evening, leaving her 2-year-old daughter sleeping in the back, according to police.
Signs at the parking lot where Jiang had parked warn that it is for customers only, and signs posted at the Chase Bank also warn not to park in the nearby shopping center. One security guard told News 4 he sees ABC tow trucks in the parking lot frequently.
By the time Jiang returned to her car, she found it missing. She called 911, and police determined the car had been towed from the lot in violation of a borough ordnance. It was located it at ABC Towing at 1580 Bergen Blvd.
Officers found the girl sleeping in the back seat, unharmed and unrestrained under blankets, according to Fort Lee police.
Jiang was reunited with her daughter. ABC Towing owner Greg Makroulikis said he was at his yard when police arrived with Jiang, at the same time the car came in.
"She was visibly upset and didn't say too much," he said.
Makroulikis says the company never checks cars they tow: "The cars are locked, we don't go into cars. We wouldn't have any reason to go into the car. We just got called to remove the vehicle, and we removed the vehicle as requested."
A follow-up investigation by the Division of Child Protection and Permanency led to charges against Jiang. She was released from police custody with a court date for April 13.
The child was released to the care of her family.