Nurse spots baby in pickup; parents arrested

Two parents allegedly left their child unattended in the back of a car while it was 80-degrees outside

Outside of Casa Tapatia Mexican Restaurant, June 1, 2017. (KOIN)

WOODLAND, Wash. (KOIN) — Two Woodland parents were arrested after a registered nurse spotted an 11-month-old baby unattended in the backseat of a vehicle in 80-degree weather.

Dylan Daniel Wenger, 22, and Megan Elizabeth Wenger, 23, allegedly left their infant unattended in a car while they went to eat at a local restaurant on Friday evening. They are charged with reckless endangerment and leaving a child in a truck at a liquor establishment.

At about 7:45 p.m., Woodland police found a child unattended in a pickup at Casa Tapatia Mexican Restaurant after responding to a call. The caller, a woman who is a registered nurse, led the officer to the truck, according to police records. Three windows were rolled down and the child could be seen sitting in back in a car seat.

The outside of Casa Tapatia Mexican Restaurant, June 1 2017. (KOIN)
The outside of Casa Tapatia Mexican Restaurant, June 1 2017. (KOIN)

The caller, along with her husband, waited near the truck for the parents to return. Police records show the woman went into the restaurant where she saw both parents seated at a booth in the back of the restaurant, out of sight from the pickup. After waiting for 45 minutes, she contacted the police.

When an officer began to enter the restaurant, a man, later identified as Dylan Wenger, stepped outside, police records show. Wenger was placed under arrest after he was asked if he was the owner of the truck and told police he had been checking on the 11-month-old every 5 minutes. He also said he “left the child in the pickup because he was sleeping” and “if he doesn’t get enough sleep, he gets cranky.”

KOIN 6 News talked to a few parents about the incident who said it’s just something you don’t do no matter what.

Parent Kelsey Wooley talks to KOIN 6 News, June 1, 2017. (KOIN)
Parent Kelsey Wooley talks to KOIN 6 News, June 1, 2017. (KOIN)

“You know, your kids safety, that’s the number one priority. Even though I understand when they’re sleeping you want to like leave them there, maybe it will make the rest of your day better, but it’s something you can’t do,” Kelsey Wooley said.

The officer on the scene said Wenger had been drinking at the restaurant, which serves beer, wine and hard liquor. Megan Wenger was also arrested.

When the infant was removed from the pickup, he was damp with sweat and needed a new diaper, however, he did appear to be okay, according to police reports. The officer also found a mostly consumed bottle of vodka in the truck.

Records confirm the child was left in the truck for an hour and had no way of hydrating himself. The officer said both the pickup and the child were out of the parents’ view, so they wouldn’t have seen if “someone would have abducted or harmed him.” Police say it would have been easy to get to the child as the doors were unlocked and the windows were rolled down.

After the incident, the toddler was given to his grandmother. The police report will be forwarded to the Child Protective Services for a follow-up.

Both parents posted their $1,000 bail and are scheduled to face a judge on June 6 in Cowlitz County District Court.