Spanish Police Arrest Chinese Couple Who Left Newborn in Car to Visit a Casino

Posted on: December 19, 2022, 01:27h. 

Last updated on: December 29, 2022, 08:18h.

Update: The original article has been revised to eliminate wording that linked an infant’s death with a casino in Pennsylvania.

This year has seen a number of instances of people leaving their children inside vehicles while visiting a casino, with the latest incident coming out of Madrid, Spain. A Chinese couple allegedly abandoned their 3-month-old baby in their car to visit a casino and will now suffer the consequences.

Spanish National Police
Spanish National Police officers conduct a patrol. Police in Madrid, Spain, have arrested the mother and father of a young infant left alone in a car while they gambled at a casino. (Image: Majorca Daily Bulletin)

The pair allegedly left the newborn in the car last Wednesday night. At the time, the temperature was unseasonably warm and the city was dealing with flash floods in certain areas.

An unidentified person in a public parking garage said she thought she heard a child crying. Because it was 2:50 in the morning, the wails seemed out of place, so she went to investigate.

Gambling Over Babies

By following the cries, she found the vehicle with the infant inside. It was raining heavily, and inside the parking structure, it was cold and humid.

The bystander called the Municipal Police, who sent officers to the scene. Upon their arrival, agents of the National Corps were already there, investigating a gray Volkswagen. Agents from both forces then collaborated in rescuing the girl, breaking the rear window of the vehicle to gain access.

The girl was healthy, but had vomited while trapped in the car. Police summoned civil protection agents, who examined the baby and took her into protective custody.

The agents immediately suspected that the parents, who are Chinese nationals, based on the vehicle records, could be in the Gran Casino Madrid adjacent to the garage, which is a popular destination for many gamblers.

Their instincts were correct, as officials found the couple in the casino. When questioned about the child found in the car, neither the father nor the mother owned up to any wrongdoing.

Given their attitude, officers placed them under arrest and charged them with abandonment of a minor. The baby was ultimately turned over to the paternal grandfather and the parents temporarily lost their rights to see her.

The matter is now in the hands of prosecutors. In accordance with Spanish law, the parents are looking at between 18 months and three years in prison.

Not an Isolated Incident

There have been several cases over the years of parents leaving their children in cars to gamble. In 2021, a father left his six-month-old in his vehicle in the middle of the Las Vegas summer heat.

Earlier this year, a mother in Florida wanted to gamble so badly that she left her 27-day-old baby unattended while she hit the slot machines. Both incidents are part of a worrying trend that doesn’t seem to be getting any better.

Studies show that, in the US alone, parents left almost 700 children in their vehicles while they visited casinos. Another study reports that, in just Pennsylvania, the number of such cases soared 60% this year compared to 2021.

Two of the worst cases this year ended in tragedy. In one, a three-month-old infant died after being left in a vehicle in the parking lot of a casino while his parents gambled.

A similar incident played out in North Carolina after a mother left her two-year-old alone in her car. The boy died after being trapped for about seven hours.