GRANDVILLE, MI -- Christina Sanchez didn’t know what to think when she first saw an infant car seat left in a parking space at McDonald’s restaurant in Grandville.
“We were able to pull right up next to it. I just peeked in there and I saw her. Her eyes were wide open,” Sanchez said. “I thought ‘Oh my gosh, there’s a baby in there.’”
Sanchez recounted the scene -- and her shock -- in an interview with MLive.
She said she came upon the car seat, left on the pavement, about 12:50 p.m. Friday, Jan. 11 while pulling into the restaurant off 44th Street, east of Ivanrest Avenue.
Grandville police issued a news release about the incident late Friday afternoon and said they were able to locate the parents. Police said they were investigating the circumstances behind the left child, who was 4 months old.
Ottawa County sheriff’s deputies, who participated in the investigation because of a 911 call they received, said it appears the child was left unintentionally at the McDonald’s by a parent.
Ottawa County dispatchers took a 911 call at about 1:30 p.m. Friday from the area of the Family Fare store, 6480 28th St. in Georgetown Township, about a potential child abduction. The missing child was the 4-month-old found at the McDonald’s and police quickly connected the dots.
Deputies did not specify who made the 911 call about the child abduction. But at the same time they indicated a parent left the child accidentally in the restaurant parking lot.
Sanchez had been at a nearby doctor’s appointment and planned to go through the McDonald’s drive-through when she saw the seat.
She put the seat and baby in her vehicle and immediately called 911. She thought a parent might come out of the restaurant momentarily, but no one did.
A Grandville police officer, upon arriving at the scene, went inside the restaurant and asked everyone about the child. He could not locate a parent, Sanchez said.
While the temperature was chilly, Sanchez thinks the baby was only in the parking lot a very short time because she seemed to be perspiring. The seat had a cloth cover over it and the baby had a blanket covering her legs.
The baby, while not injured, was taken to a hospital for care and was expected to be under the custody of Child Protective Services for at least one night.
Sanchez was grateful the child was fine.
“I thought to myself, ‘What if there was big truck pulling into the lot,’” fearing the seat could have been struck.
Sanchez later was told by police the mother is a 24-year-old woman with other children.
“I’m just going to pray for the family,” she said.