Woman sentenced after pleading no contest to leaving kids in minivan

Crime Watch

Melissa Medel, file image

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Melissa Medel yelled and curse when confronted in July by people who witnessed her leave two young children alone in a vehicle.

Other than identifying herself to the judge, Medel remained quiet Monday in Kern County Superior Court as she was sentenced to a year in jail.

Medel, 38, pleaded no contest last month to a charge of willful cruelty to a child. A second count of child cruelty and a battery charge were dismissed under the plea agreement.

Judge Eric Bradshaw also sentenced Medel to four years’ probation and ordered her not to have possession of alcohol or drugs. He said she must complete a one-year child abuser’s treatment program.

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

The minivan was running but was warm inside, one witness said. The crowd opened doors to get help cool off the van’s interior.

The video shows Medel swear as she approaches. She places items in the minivan and continues to swear at the witness recording the incident then rushes at her. The footage abruptly ends.

Deputies located Medel the next day at a motel on East Brundage Lane and arrested her. Child Protective Services took custody of the children, sheriff’s officials said.

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