UPDATE: Woman accused of leaving children in vehicle takes plea deal

Crime Watch

UPDATE (8/20): Medel on Friday pleaded no contest to a charge of willful cruelty to a child, according to court records. A second count of child cruelty and a misdemeanor battery charge were dismissed.

Sentencing is set for Sept. 20.


BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) (7/26) — A woman accused of leaving two young children inside a minivan while she shopped at a Bakersfield grocery store pleaded not guilty Monday to child cruelty charges.

Melissa Medel, 38, pleaded not guilty to two counts of willful cruelty to a child and a misdemeanor battery charge. Superior Court Judge Eric Bradshaw set bail at $25,000 and ordered Medel back for a hearing Aug. 20.

Cellphone video posted by witness Mayra Law captured the July 21 confrontation between Medel and several people who gathered around the minivan after noticing an infant and 3-year-old boy inside. Medel allegedly shopped inside the FoodMaxx on Niles Street while the children were left alone.

The video shows a woman later identified as Medel swearing as she approaches the vehicle. She places items in the minivan and continues to swear at Law before rushing at her. The footage abruptly ends.

Law told 17 News she prepared to defend herself but other people intervened. She said Medel got in the minivan and sped out of the parking lot.

The following day, deputies located and arrested Medel at a motel on East Brundage Lane, according to a sheriff’s release. Child Protective Services took custody of the children.

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