October 1, 2012

Couple who left baby in car to serve one year in prison

By Nita Johnson
Staff Writer

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — Although a Good Samaritan couple probably saved the life of a nine-month-old baby left inside a hot car unattended, the parents of the child will serve one year in prison for their neglect.

Robert Wayne Smallwood, 20,  and his 18-year-old wife, Rachel Smallwood, of Dees Road in London, were sentenced by Laurel Circuit Judge Gregory Lay on Monday, Sept. 24. The couple were indicted just two weeks after their arrests on charges of first-degree criminal abuse and first-degree wanton endangerment.

During the sentencing, the criminal mischief charges were dismissed but the Smallwoods will serve the one-year sentence for endangering their infant child.

Robert Smallwood was reportedly getting a haircut inside Ambiance Salon & Spa in the Marketplace Shopping Center on Ky. 192 on May 7. He and his wife, Rachel, left their baby inside the car. A couple walking by in the Kroger parking lot heard the baby crying and retrieved it from the unlocked, non-running vehicle, then called the police. The couple said the baby was sweating profusely and her face was red when they removed her from the car. The temperature outside was in the high 80s and the inside of the vehicle was nearly 100 degrees.

When officers with the London Police Department arrived at the scene, they were there for 10 minutes before the Smallwoods came back to the car. The child had allegedly been left inside the vehicle, unattended, for at least 20 minutes prior to being removed from the vehicle. Robert Smallwood allegedly told police it was not necessary that the child be left unattended in the car; Rachel Smallwood disclosed she was pregnant with the couple’s second child; and officials with the Department of Families and Children took custody of the  9-month-old baby immediately.