A Chillliwack woman was arrested Sunday after people noticed two children — aged three and 12 — alone in a van in a shopping centre parking lot, RCMP say.
Temperatures soared to a record 42.2 C late in the afternoon of June 27 in Chilliwack. By 9:30 p.m. it was 33 C.
RCMP say it was around 7 p.m. when people noticed two children alone in a van parked at the Eagle Landing Shopping Centre in the 8200 Block of Eagle Landing Parkway.
"The temperature was very hot that day. The officers ... immediately removed the children from the vehicle," said Cpl. Mike Rail. Soon after helping the children, police say they found their mother shopping in a nearby store — and arrested her around 8 p.m.
Rail says the 32-year-old woman is being investigated for child abandonment.
"Bystanders reported the children in the vehicle to the RCMP. They did absolutely the right thing. Very fortunately — both the kids were fine. They were checked out by the B.C. Ambulance [paramedics]."
Rail said during the woman's arrest evidence was also found that she possessed a substance that appeared to be a small amount of cocaine, contrary to the Controlled Drug and Substances Act.
He said it is not common to find children alone in a parked vehicle — but it "does happen."
"I don't recommend leaving children alone in a parked vehicle anywhere, at any time. In the summer, in the heat, the risk to the children is absolutely heightened," Rail said.