Police: Mom left baby alone in car, went to party

August 5, 2011 4:07:58 AM PDT
Child neglect charges have been filed against a northern New Jersey woman who allegedly left her 8-month-old baby alone in a car while she partied with a friend.

Children play on the stoop near where a man and woman were arrested Thursday in Jersey City.

It's a family-centered neighborhood where families watch the fireworks over the Statue of Liberty from their view on the hill.

But what happened there Wednesday, well it's not the way they raise their families.

"I'm shocked, I'm shocked," said a resident.

"I have grandchildren, and I can't imagine leaving a child, and think about the heat that we had yesterday, how can you do that?" another resident said.

It's a question for 32-year-old Sharia Pettiford, who police say left her baby in her car while, according to police, she partied with friend Kevin Jackson, who was also arrested.

He was charged with possession of marijuana.

When police approached, they asked her where she left her baby, and she reportedly told them that she couldn't remember.

Neighbors say that people do come to the lot to party, but that the area is one of the best in Jersey City.

"Occasionally the kids will hang out over there, you'll see them walking instead of in class, and they just do what they can, what they shouldn't do, but for the most part, no," a resident said.

"In the greater metropolitan area things like this don't shock me, no. It's a sad commentary of people leaving their children in the car when it's a 120 degrees outside and then next thing you know it's a 150 in the car," said another resident.

The boy was found lying in debris on the backseat floor around 1 a.m. Thursday.

He was taken to a hospital, where doctors said he was in good health, then turned over to child welfare officials. Police did not say how long the child was in the car.

Pettiford remained in custody Thursday. It was not known if she had retained a lawyer.