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No charges for woman who thought 2-year-old was lost

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

ONLY ON CLIFFVIEW PILOT : A woman who forced a lockdown of a Route 46 shopping center before realizing her 2-year-old son actually wasn’t missing apparently won’t be charged, but she most likely will be monitored by DYFS, with periodic visits and follow-ups.


“Bottom line here is that a ‘temporarily absent mind’ won’t amount to criminal charges,” Saddle Brook Police Chief Robert Kugler told CLIFFVIEW PILOT this morning. “However, she definitely needs follow-up counseling to make sure it sends a message that when you’re dealing with a human life, especially your own child, you need to focus and protect their security at all times.”

As first reported on CLIFFVIEW PILOT , shoppers got a bit testy as officers from Saddle Brook, Garfield, and both the county prosecutor’s office and county police, stopped them from going in and out. However, Kugler explained: “We had to shut down and methodically check every car exiting the shopping center onto Rt 46.”

They had no choice but to take the panic-stricken mother at her word — until she finally realized what she’d done with her son. So police “scanned every car coming out and checked all cars leaving until we knew child was not at our location,” the chief told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .

“It basically ends up to be “severe memory lapse” by the mother,” Kugler said.

Before going shopping, the woman passed Jewell St, Park in Garfield, where the boy like to play. So she left him with a trusted friend whiwle she completed her errands, the chief said.

“Then she totally forgets this and it’s somehow blocked from her memory,” he explained. “She thinks she remembers getting out of car at Sally [Beauty Salon], takes her son out and grabs her two bags of hair blowers to go into Sally. After the transaction, she gets into car and leaves.

“As she exits the mall onto Rt 46, she realizes the son isn’t in the car and turns around thinking she left him in the store.

“No one in the store or anyone else can say they’d seen the boy,” Kugler said. “The video of the store doesn’t show the boy, so we had to eliminate the chance the boy was left in the parking lot unattended.

“Only after a period of at least two hours does she finally remember about passing the park and dropping him off with the friend.”

The chief said he didn’t anticipate filing charges UNLESS detectives discover previous instances of abuse.

“Most likely will be DYFS monitoring and follow-up visits,” he said.

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