Woman saves sweating, screaming baby from hot car

Published: May. 15, 2018 at 2:32 PM EDT
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Temperatures on Saturday, May 12, nearly hit 90 degrees. A woman in a Kroger parking lot said she was in the right place at the right time to rescue a screaming baby trapped in a hot car.

"I heard this child screaming and crying and I thought, 'Oh wow, that sounds awful close,'" said Sherri Robbins.

She peeked inside the window of the van next to her.

"I looked in and I saw a child, like a toddler, and he was just crying and nobody was in there with him. I peered in there and the windows were closed, the car was not turned on and that scared me," she added.

Police said the child was nine months old. It was nearly 90 degrees outside. Robbins called the police.

KPD responded to the report of an infant left in a minivan around 6:50 p.m. Saturday at the Kroger in Cedar Bluff off Kingston Pike.

"I said, 'We got to do something quick, this baby may not make it in this heat,'" said Robbins.

Not sure she'd be strong enough to break the van's window to get the baby out, she flagged down a store employee who brought out a manager and some water.

Robbins said more than 20 minutes passed. She tried to open the door. To her surprise, it was unlocked.

"He looked hot and sweaty. I was taking napkins out of my purse, wetting them and cooling him down," she explained.

Not long after the baby was out, the child's foster mother, Claire Huenefeld, 38, came back to the car. Robbins said the woman claimed she didn't realize she left the child in the car.

Huenefeld is being charged with one count of child endangerment. She is scheduled for arraignment at 10 a.m. on May 22. The child was taken to East Tennessee Children's Hospital for evaluation. Officials said he would be turned over to the Department of Children's Services once released from the hospital.