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Mom charged after infant left in SUV
Gone for 45 minutes in 95-degree heat
whitehead krystal
Krystal Whitehead - photo by Submitted
Authorities are cautioning residents not to leave their children in a vehicle, particularly during the heat of summer.

The reminder comes four days after a north Forsyth woman was arrested after her infant was found alone in a vehicle at a Cumming shopping center.

The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office has charged Krystal Whitehead, 25, of Twin Lakes Road with one count of second-degree cruelty to children, a felony.

As of Tuesday, Whitehead remained in custody at the Forsyth County Detention Center on $22,110 bond, a jail spokeswoman said.

Sheriff’s Lt. Col. Gene Moss noted that leaving a child in a vehicle in summer heat can be deadly.

“We can only assume that a child left for any period of time could lead to a child dying, which has happened before,” Moss said.

Capt. Paul Taylor added that children left alone in vehicles also are at risk of abduction. He applauded the anonymous caller who reported the situation.

The caller told authorities the boy, about 3 months old, was alone in the back of a sport utility vehicle at Lakeland Plaza. Investigator Matt Starr said deputies found the child and waited for Whitehead to return.

Starr said witnesses confirmed that Whitehead had left the child in the SUV and entered a business at the shopping center shortly after 8 p.m.

“The mom came out and stated she forgot the infant was in the back of the vehicle,” said Starr, adding that Whitehead’s 11-year-old sister was with her.

The infant was taken to Northside Hospital–Forsyth and placed in protective custody later that night. The 11-year-old was released to a relative.

Starr said a thermometer on a deputy’s patrol car showed the outside temperature Friday night was about 95 degrees.

Both front seat windows were rolled down, the back driver’s side window was halfway open and the truck was not running. Starr said the baby was found in a child safety seat.

Based on witness accounts and information gathered at the scene, authorities determined the boy had been in the truck for about 45 minutes, Starr said.

The Department of Family and Children’s Services also responded to the incident.

E-mail Julie Arrington at