Court date set for father accused of leaving child in hot car

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An Oxnard man, who is accused of leaving his son in 90-degree weather while patronizing a business in the Santa Clarita Valley, has pleaded not guilty to the felony crime of child abuse, according to court officials. 

Andy Cruces, 45, was arrested in the beginning of August after Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station deputies responded to the 25600 block of The Old Road in Stevenson Ranch after reports of a young boy left in an unoccupied parked vehicle, according to Deputy Natalie Arriaga, spokeswoman for the station. 

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office charged Cruces with the felony crime of child abuse under circumstances or conditions likely to cause great bodily injury or death. Cruces was formally arraigned and entered a not guilty plea to child abuse. 

He is set to return to court for a preliminary hearing on Sept. 26. 

According to responding deputies, a concerned citizen removed the boy from the vehicle and waited for law enforcement to arrive at the scene, Arriaga wrote in an email. Upon arrival, deputies entered the Marshalls store and made an announcement for the vehicle owner to identify themselves.  

The suspect identified himself to deputies, and Cruces was arrested on suspicion of child cruelty. The child was later determined to be 5 years old, and he was transported to a nearby hospital for further medical evaluation. 

Sources familiar with the case said the boy was heard saying, “They left me in the car and it was hot.” 

Temperatures rose to approximately 99 degrees that day, according to the National Weather Service. 

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