New Hampshire

New Hampshire Mother Charged With Leaving Son Alone in Running Car

A New Hampshire mother is facing charges after allegedly leaving her child in the car while she went shopping.

Dina Dambaeva, 34, of Manchester, says she just ran into the Hooksett Target on Saturday morning to return something and that her child was never in any danger.

But police said in those 30 minutes, something awful could have happened to Dambaeva's 2-year-old son, Matthew.

In a phone interview Monday, Dambaeva said she would never put her son in harm's way.

"He was safe, he was fine, he was happy," Dambaeva said.

But that's exactly what police say she did when she left Matthew strapped into his car seat, the car running, while she went into the store.

"Anytime you have child of that age, alone, and unattended, there is a ton of risks that can happen to them," said Hooksett Police Sgt. Matthew Burke.

Area shoppers said they could not help but imagine the worst.

"Just someone breaking in and maybe abducting the child," said Michelle Yang.

"I would never leave my child in the car, no, there's no excuse," said Penny Gurley.

The Manchester mom is facing one misdemeanor count of endangering the welfare of a child.

"It was my big mistake, stupid mistake, let's say a stupid mistake," Dambaeva said.

She's defending her actions by explaining that in her home country of Russia, leaving your child in the car is no big deal.

"I thought it was going to take five minutes, I didn't know it was going to take more," she said. "I'm not the worst mother in the world, I just did one tiny mistake, and people judge me for that."

Police say Matthew's dad picked him up from the parking lot when Dina was arrested on Saturday. She’s due back in court in May.

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