A New Mexico mother is facing a felony child abuse charge for leaving her 12-year-old son in her car while she was working out in the nearby gym.

The manager of the gym, a Planet Fitness in southwest Albuquerque, called the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s office at just after 6:30 p.m. on Monday to report a child and dog locked inside a vehicle in the their facility’s parking lot.

33-year-old Lucila Gonzalez told the manager she’d left her son in the car before and, according to that same manager, she didn’t appear to be the least bit worried about it.

She appeared before a judge on the charge Wednesday, and he allowed her to be around the boy as long as his father is also there. He then allowed her to be released on bond.

When deputies arrived, Ms. Gonzalez told them she’d left the boy in the car for about half an hour while she worked out, and that it wasn’t the first time that he’d been left alone.

She felt it was okay because she’d left the sunroof open.

But when deputies asked her son to open the car doors to talk to them, he wasn’t able to. He told the deputies that she’d often leave him in the car while she worked out, and that he usually just takes naps or reads until she returns.

The boy’s father was then called to pick his son up while Gonzalez was taken into custody. She also was driving without a valid driver’s license.

There’s no specific law that sets an age limit for when it becomes legal or illegal to leave a child in a car alone. Each incident is dealt with on a case-by-case basis.


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