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Friday, Sep 19, 2014

Police: St. Pete mother left baby in van for hours


Published:   |   Updated: July 6, 2014 at 08:17 AM

A St. Petersburg woman was arrested Saturday after leaving her infant in a van for several hours while she attended the funeral of three women killed in a hit-and-run crash, St. Pete police said.

Natasha W. Graver, 32, 2011 42nd St. S., was charged with child abuse and taken to the Pinellas County Jail.

Officers went to Graver’s home about 3:50 p.m. after being called about a 4-month-old girl who had been left in a hot vehicle. The girl was treated by paramedics for heat exposure and taken to All-Children’s Hospital, where police said she is in stable condition. She will remain at the hospital for further tests, they added.

During interviews, investigators learned Graver had decided to attend the funeral of the three woman killed in hit-and-run crash on June 26. She said she placed the baby in a child restraint seat in the back seat of her van and drove to the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, 3300 31st St. S., to attend the service, which began about 1:00 p.m.

Graver told police that once she arrived at the church, she forgot about her child and went inside, leaving the van with its windows up and the engine off. After the service, Graver said she drove home, still not remembering that she had placed her child in the back seat.

Back at her residence, she said she went inside, again leaving the child in the van with the windows up and engine off.

Graver’s husband, the child’s father, was home, but apparently was not concerned about the baby, assuming his wife had left her with a relative, police said. They made plans to eat out, and upon returning to van they discovered the child unresponsive in the back seat and called 911, police said.

Officers estimated, given Graver’s account, that the child was left unattended in the van for approximately 3 1/2 hours.

Child Protection investigators also went to the scene, and Graver’s four other children, ages 13 to a 1-year-old, were left in the custody of her husband.

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