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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wichita police arrest mother who didn’t notice her son, 2, fall out of her moving car

By Stan Finger
The Wichita Eagle

The 21-year-old woman who didn’t notice that her 2-year-old son had opened a back door and fallen out of her car while she was driving in southwest Wichita on Sunday afternoon has been arrested on suspicion of child endangerment, police records show.

Rebbecca Fowler was arrested shortly before 6:45 p.m. Monday following questioning at the Exploited and Missing Child Unit at 130 S. Market. Records show she had neither her driver’s license nor a child safety seat in what witnesses described as a newer model Pontiac Grand Am.

Fowler’s 2-year-old son slipped out of a lap belt, opened the back door of the Grand Am and fell out somewhere in the 2000 block of West Rita at about 3 p.m. Sunday, police say. Fowler didn’t notice until she arrived home in the 200 block of South Hiram, more than 1 1/2 miles away.

When she retraced her route, she found her son with people who found him running down the street, his face bleeding, on West Rita, which is northeast of Pawnee and Meridian. Police say it’s not clear where the boy fell out or how long he had been running before he was found.

Samantha Garcia, who held and tended to the boy until police arrived, said he had deep cuts to his lip and nose and road rash on one arm. The boy’s mother told her she became so panicked when she got home and realized he wasn’t in the car that she removed the child safety seat and then began searching for him. Investigators didn’t believe that story.

“I can see there’s something wrong,” Garcia said. “I’ve got a 3-year-old and a 4-year-old. I would freak out because this is my fault. She didn’t have that.”

The boy was taken to a local hospital for treatment and admitted for observation. He was released from a local hospital on Tuesday and remains in protective custody.

His mother called her brother and her mother, Garcia said, but there was no mention of the child’s father.

The woman’s mother arrived at the scene and immediately drove home with the Grand Am.

“She made her walk home,” Garcia said.

As time has passed, Garcia said, she feels some sympathy for the young mother.

“It’s a bad situation,” she said. “Hopefully good will come from it.”

Stan Finger can be reached at 316-268-6437 or at sfinger@wichitaeagle.com.

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