'It was heart-wrenching': Woman describes rescuing baby left in hot car in West Acres parking lot
FARGO — Richelle Condon, a teacher in Standing Rock, was on her way back from the Twin Cities to Bismarck with her daughter when they made a last-second decision to stop at the West Acres mall for some lunch.
They parked in a remote part of the parking lot, and on their way back to the car something caught Condon's attention.
"I heard a little baby crying, and I thought that was weird," she recalled.
Condon peeked through the windows, which were rolled down a few inches, and said what she saw was heart-wrenching — a baby alone in the car, sweating.
"She was trying to get out of the sun, because it was directly in her face. She was crying hard," she remembered.
Condon called 911, but then she realized the car was unlocked.
"I went in and took her out. The baby was just drenched — hot and sweaty and crying really hard," Condon said.
She said the girl was struggling to breathe.
"When I was getting her out she took like this big deep breath like she was getting fresh air from the breeze," Condon said.
Police were on scene within minutes. Condon says she had been holding the child for about 10 minutes when the dad, 22-year-old Robert Henson of West Fargo, came out of the mall.
"He had this 'hey, what's up' expression ... he didn't ask how she was doing; he didn't come over and take her from me. He had this nervous smile," Condon remembers.
Condon says the dad had bought some clothes at Forever 21.
He reportedly told police he was only in the mall for 10 minutes. A look at surveillance video determined it was an hour.
Condon says she is sharing her story to encourage people to be aware of their surroundings and don't be afraid to step in to save a life.
"And not be irresponsible and think clothes are more important than your child. ... God was looking out for her. We happened to be at the right place at the right time to get her out of the car," said Condon.
After paramedics checked out the baby, she was turned over to her mother
Henson was arrested on suspicion of child neglect..