Kids in hot car mother a no-show at news conference

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- The Valley mother under fire for leaving her kids in a hot car did not show up Tuesday for her own news conference.

Shanesha Taylor, 35, reportedly made a last-minute decision on the advice of her lawyer to skip the news conference held on her behalf. But plenty of others were there to speak in her defense.

Taylor was arrested on child abuse charges March 21 after leaving her 6-month-old and 2-year-old alone in her Dodge Durango while interviewing for a job in Scottsdale. Taylor, who’s unemployed, told officers she didn’t have a baby sitter available to watch her kids during her job interview.

According to a probable cause statement by Scottsdale police, the temperature the day of the incident was 82 degrees; the estimated temperature inside the car was over 100 degrees. Police also say "both children were sweating profusely and appeared to be in distress."

Since Taylor's arrest, her story and emotional mug shot have drawn national attention. Some 3,500 people have donated more than $102,000 in her name. Twelve thousand others have signed petitions that were delivered to the county attorney's office Tuesday asking that the charges be dropped.

"This was not a crime of abuse, but a crime of desperation," said community advocate Jarrett Maupin.

It's a situation that could have been prevented, had Taylor utilized the free "interview care" offered at all 25 Sunrise Preschool locations around the Valley.

"The interview care is absolutely free," said Dana Vela of Sunrise Preschools. "We just ask for emergency contacts, immunizations, and the family can have four hours of care and go off and secure a job."

Sunrise started offering this service to families a few years ago when they first recognized the need.

"That gives parents peace of mind and the opportunity to focus on the interview and not worry about if their child is safe," she said.

Meantime at the state Capitol, lawmakers used Taylor as an example of what drastic cuts to social services can lead to.

"We have got to make sure child care subsidies are increased," said Sen. Leah Landrum Taylor.