Illinois’ Rivers Casino Visitor Gets Arrested for Leaving Two Kids in Car, Cops Reveal

Posted on: May 10, 2022, 01:55h. 

Last updated on: May 10, 2022, 11:53h.

Young children were left alone in a car parked at Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, Illinois on Sunday while their father allegedly went into the sportsbook to gamble. He later was located and arrested.

Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, Illinois, pictured above. The casino was the site Sunday of a man getting arrested for leaving two kids in a car while he went into the venue, police said. (Image: TripAdvisor)

The children, ages three and five, apparently were not injured. It was not immediately clear how long the kids were alone in the car. Casino security guards saw the two children in the car and then notified local cops.

The father, later identified as Esteban Meraz, 38, of Chicago, was found by authorities in the sportsbook. He was charged with two counts of endangering the life or health of a child, the Daily Herald, an Illinois newspaper. reported. His case was turned over to local courts for prosecution.

Des Plaines is a suburb of Chicago.

Prior Incidents

The problem of leaving kids alone in cars while adults gamble is seen nationwide. Last month, in an unrelated incident, an Ohio man allegedly left his seven-year-old daughter alone for a half-hour in a running car in Belterra Park’s parking garage. He went into the Anderson Township, Ohio racino.

Charles Jeffers of Mason, Ohio, was charged with endangering a child. Casino security apprehended him, WXIX, an Ohio TV station, reported. The girl did not appear to suffer any injuries while alone in the car.

Last October, a 35-year-old Louisiana woman was facing three charges after she allegedly left a child unattended in a car at a Roanoke casino, allowing her time to gamble.

Security officers for Peto’s Travel Center and Casino spotted the eight-year-old child in the car. Deputies arrived and found the child’s mother, later identified as Sandra Sasser Britt of Lake Arthur, in the gaming property. She was gambling, deputies reported.

Britt was charged with child desertion, possession of a controlled dangerous substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia, deputies said.

Also, in April 2021, a Florida physician faced two charges of neglect after leaving two children unattended in her car. Dr. Marieny Elena Guimera-Revelo allegedly left them in the car while she played poker at Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood.

Prosecutors claim she was at a poker table in the casino for at least 12 minutes. The children were three and 11-years-old at the time.

Babies Even at Risk

In addition, in July 2021, a baby was found alone in a car parked at Bighorn Casino in North Las Vegas on a hot summer evening. A man was later arrested.

Police said he was gambling in the venue and appeared intoxicated. Mitchell Anthony Hooks, 39, of Las Vegas, was charged with child abuse and leaving a child unattended in a motor vehicle.

It was not clear how the earlier cases were adjudicated.