Mother taken into custody after leaving baby in hot car

SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Christina Smith, 31, of Sevierville was taken into custody on Wednesday, July 12, after leaving her 5- to 6-month old child in a car. The temperature of the inside of the car was measured by police at 111 degrees.

On Wednesday, a witness called Sevierville police from an Aldi store in Sevierville to report finding a child in distress inside a car that had its windows down and doors unlocked. When police arrived, they found the child's skin was flushed, but she was not crying.

While speaking to the witness, police heard a female gasp that she had left her baby and looked toward the Aldi door to see Christina Smith. Smith said she thought her niece had taken the baby out of the vehicle to watch her while she went into the store. She said repeatedly that she had only been in the store for 20 to 25 minutes.

Inside the vehicle, officers used a laser thermometer to determine the temperature. The car seat that the baby had been seated in registered 107 degrees, and the vehicle's interior, measured on the seat next to the car seat, registered 111 degrees.

Investigators and store management determined that Smith had entered the store 20 minutes before the child was found by the concerned witness.

Smith was given the opportunity to call who she referred to as her mother-in-law, who came to the scene and took custody of the child. Both the child and the apparent mother-in-law went to Leconte Medical for the child to receive treatment.

Smith was taken into custody and transported to Sevier County Jail. A DCS referral was filed.