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Mother accused of leaving children in car

(ran State / Suncoast edition of Metro & State)

A Holiday mother was arrested Monday afternoon on a child neglect charge after she left her two young children _ one an infant _ alone in her car in the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office parking lot, deputies reported. Markeda Bennett, 19, left her 11-month-old son and 3-year-old daughter in the back seat of her Honda Accord while she went inside to the records department, deputies reported. The car was not running and the windows were partially open. The temperature at the time was in the 80s, deputies reported. Bennett left the children to go to the records department to have a background check run on herself for a housing application, sheriff's officials said. The check revealed she was wanted on warrants for violating probation and failing to pay a fine on a petty theft charge. Officials with the fugitive section started to speak to her, and Bennett told them her children were still in the car. Records indicate she signed in at the Sheriff's Office about 12:35 p.m.; it was discovered about 10 minutes later that her children had been left unattended. The children were unharmed, sheriff's spokesman Mac McMullen said. He could not say what happened to them after their mother was taken into custody. Bennett was being held at the Pinellas County Jail Tuesday in lieu of $10,725 bail.

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