A Saudi Arabian couple left their infant in a locked car in Southern Texas while they watched a movie at a theater along with their 4-year-old.
A February 11 video of the baby abandoned in a car in Corpus Christi has gone viral. The baby was unharmed in the incident, and police elected not to file charges against the parents of the child, sparking outrage among people who wondered why the couple was not held accountable.
“It wasn’t an accident and there wasn’t an arrest … it seems this time, culture played an unexpected factor,” KIII-TV reported.
The parents of the baby was a 29-year-old father and a 17-year-old mother from Saudia Arabia. Police have “clarified” that they were trying to be “culturally sensitive” in the case, and said they should not have released the couple’s alibi to the public, KiiiTV reports.
“We didn’t do a good job on your news story the other night. We didn’t do a good job of explaining that,” CCPD Lt. Chris Hooper said. “We should not have released the offenders alibi to y’all. We shouldn’t have done it, but we did.”
Police were called to the theater parking lot around 11 p.m. A bystander at the scene recorded a video as police entered the car and checked on the welfare of the infant.
“Someone left their baby in the car,” a woman says in the video that was later posted on Facebook.
Police located the couple inside the theater along with their 4-year-old child.
“It is a violation of law to leave a child unattended in a vehicle,” Kirk Stowers of Corpus Christi police told KIII-TV 3News. “There were no arrests made last night. What they found out is that the family is from Saudi Arabia and they said that this is culturally acceptable for them—it’s normal.”
Authorities have not yet determined how long the family has been living in the United States, but chose to exercise “cultural sensitivity” and not press charges against the parents. Even so, police are considering the case an active criminal investigation and plan to follow up with the parents to confirm that it “really is normal in Saudi Arabia” to leave a child unattended in a car.
“If it was someone who grew up in the United States, of course the outcome may be very different,” Stowers said.
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