Police said Chiengkham “Cindy” Vilaysane let the toddler wander off in the store and then refused to take her back, saying, “Oh, just leave her,” when a good Samaritan shopper tried to return the girl.
Vilaysane then finished her shopping, checked out and left the store with her groceries — but not her child, police said. The girl was found about 5 p.m. at the Food 4 Less grocery store. The girl then identified her “mommy” on the surveillance video to police.
Surveillance video appears to show the woman leaving her child behind, police said.
On Tuesday, Vilaysane reportedly walked into a nearby bank, where a teller recognized her from news reports and called the police. She was arrested and faces charges of child endangerment and neglect, police said.
Vilaysane was once placed on a 72-hour psychiatric hold and had run-ins with the police for drug and alcohol offenses, according to the Los Angeles Times. She was reportedly also recently kicked out of her family home.
Vilaysane’s daughter was placed in the care of Child Protective Services. According to the DailyMail.com, the girl is safe.
Police have located other family members and they are now helping in the investigation.