Chandler mom accused of leaving son in hot car pleads not guilty to child abuse

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) -- A woman accused of leaving her son in a hot car while she went grocery shopping in Tempe has pleaded not guilty to child abuse.
A Maricopa County Superior Court spokeswoman says 39-year-old Maria Theresa Pio of Chandler entered her plea during an arraignment Thursday.

Pio's lawyer talked to reporters outside of court on Thursday.

"What's important to understand is that my client is not charged for intentionally placing her kid inside the vehicle while she's shopping. So it's more of a part of a mistake." said attorney Richard Suzuki. "Mr. and Mrs. Pio are both very grateful and thank god that baby drake is healthy and is safe and doing very well. The family is very involved in the children's day to day activities. They're very good people and they would never do anything to put their children in any type of precarious situation."
Tempe police say an off-duty first-responder discovered the 1-year-old child crying and sweating profusely inside the car that wasn't running about 3 p.m. on April 12.
Firefighters, fire medics and police responded, removing the infant from the vehicle quickly.
The boy was transported to a Tempe hospital, treated by medical personnel and released to his father.
Police say the interior temperature of the vehicle was measured at 124 degrees and the infant car seat was 113 degrees.

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