PHOENIX — Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery is defending a decision to charge a woman with child abuse.
Shanisha Shaine Taylor, 35, is facing two counts of child abuse for allegedly leaving her 2-year-old and 6-month-old sons inside a hot car while she was at a job interview in Scottsdale last month. She claims that she left the kids in there because she had no one to watch them during the interview.
Montgomery said he’s been flooded with calls from people sympathetic to Taylor’s situation, but he’s taking the welfare of the children into account.
“I respect the fact that people want to be heard on what they think should occur in this case, but I’ll point out that not a single communication that has come into this office, as of yet, has at all mentioned the position that those two young children were put in,” Montgomery said. “Everything has focused on the mother [and] understandably so. It seems to be a very compelling human interest story.”
But Montgomery said he’s equally concerned about the circumstances the kids were in.
“The facts here that folks seem to miss, with the communications that I’ve received from the public, is that there was hot air blowing into that car,” Montgomery said. “Detectives were able to determine that temperatures in there could have exceeded 100 degrees in rather quick fashion.
“The six-month old was wearing two different shirts and had a blanket on him, too,” said Montgomery. “They were sweating profusely, and it appeared to the officer that they were in need of immediate attention. The 28-month-old, similarly, appeared to be in a degree of physical distress.”
Montgomery said that at least one of the car’s doors was unlocked and that his office is still questioning parts of Taylor’s story.
“As to whether or not she was truly homeless and had nobody who could have looked after her children, that remains to be confirmed,” he said. “In a Form 4, there was an address for her. There is an indication on that form that she was not homeless.”
The Form 4 is a two-page questionnaire that an arresting officer must submit when someone is booked into a jail.
“As with any case, we’ll take into account all factors and circumstances that need to be addressed, in order to determine how to appropriately resolve a case,” Montgomery said.
He said there are two phases of a criminal prosecution.
“The first one has to deal with whether or not the conduct in question occurred,” Montgomery explained. “The allegations here are that the conduct involved amounted to two charges of Class 3 child abuse.
“The second phase is what’s an appropriate or just resolution, taking into account all of the circumstances with all of the facts that can be established and any information that’s available?” he said.
Montgomery added that just because the prosecution is going forward, it does not mean that Taylor will end up losing her children forever.
“There is no given, fixed resolution here that will result in a prison term and her children removed and her rights severed,” Montgomery said. “That’s not a foregone conclusion nor is that something dictated by the circumstances necessarily, either.”
- The Pac-12 football season nears kickoff
- Tips to get ready for a pain-free golf season
- Protect your family with these 7 home security features
- How to train like an Olympic swimmer
- 2016 Olympics: A guide to must-see TV events
- The bride's guide to feeling your best on your wedding day
- Deciding when you need knee surgery
- Celebrating Fourth of July is much cooler in these AZ towns
- Top ten road trip bathrooms in America
- Six things causing a pain in your neck
- 5 things to make your summer move easier
- Three elements of a strong timeshare exit guarantee
- Stretches and exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome
- The best Major League ballparks have their own personality
- Comparing the best regular seasons: The '96 Bulls and '16 Warriors
- 3 Arizona road trips and the vehicles to get you there
- Colon cancer is preventable. Check these signs and symptoms to stay healthy.
- 6 of the biggest skin cancer myths
- Affordable small home makeover ideas
- Locals helping locals: 6 success stories you need to know about
- Sunscreen facts that could save your life
- 6 energy saving hacks for your home
- 5 tips for choosing a company to end your timeshare
- Overlooked water tips to save you money
- 5 of the most adored gentlemen in professional sports today
- The real danger of sitting at your desk
- Most surprising NBA playoff performances of the last 40 years
- 11 classic baseball movies you must see again
- Finally getting rid of fat: 3 methods that actually work
- 4 reasons cancer survivors should focus on food