Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Grandfather charged after leaving toddler in rental car dropped off at Florida airport

The employees who alerted sheriff’s deputies of the child will get citizens awards

Gino Spocchia
Wednesday 12 October 2022 20:49 BST
Woman calls police after finding toddler abandoned in locked rental car at Florida airport

The discovery of a nearly two-year-old child in the back of locked rental car has led to the arrest of a 62-year-old grandfather in Florida, authorities say.

Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release on Tuesday that they had taken David Towner, of Port Orange, into custody and charged him with one count of child neglect.

Authorities accuse him of leaving his nearly two-year-old grandson in the back of a locked rental car for 45 minutes at Florida’s Daytona Beach International Airport on Monday.

A Hertz employee alerted police at about 6pm to the discovery of the child in the back of a locked rental car, and when deputies arrived at the scene they found “the employee carrying the child,” according to the news release.

The sheriff’s office said the child’s “face was warm and streaked with dried tears, but was breathing normally”, and that it had been 80 degrees Fahrenheit inside the vehicle. The parking lot is notably unshaded.

The child’s mother had been on her way to the airport after being informed that Mr Towner had returned the rental car at 5.13pm, the sheriff’s office said.

She was allegedly informed earlier that evening that Mr Towner had dropped the girl off at his home, rather than leaving her daughter in the backseat of the rental car.

He was said to be babysitting the girl because her daycare centre was closed for the Columbus Day holiday, Fox35 Orlando reported.

Mr Towner was described as being “remorseful and cooperative with deputies” by the sheriff’s office. He was then transported to the Volusia County Branch Jail.

He was charged with one count of child neglect and, on Tuesday, a judge set his bond at $2,500 and ordered him to not contact the child, Fox 35 reported.

Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said the Hertz employees involved in the incident would be awarded citizens awards for their help.

Fox35 reported that the Florida Department of Children and Families was notified of the incident and that the child was returned to her mother.

It was unclear if Mr Towner had a lawyer or had entered a plea.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in