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Milwaukee Police Department responds after 4-year-old left overnight in city's tow lot

NOW: Milwaukee Police Department responds after 4-year-old left overnight in city’s tow lot

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- For the first time, the Milwaukee Police Department is commenting after a 4-year-old girl was left overnight in a van in the city's tow lot. 

The child's mother, Blair Springfield, faces felony OWI and neglect charges for the incident. On Monday, the department, whose officers responded to the incident last week, called the situation "simply unacceptable." See the department's full statement below:

"The Milwaukee Police Department is grateful that the four-year-old involved in an incident at the tow lot on November 12, 2018, appears to be doing well. However, the fact that a four-year-old child was left overnight in a vehicle that this Department requested to tow is simply unacceptable.

While the event remains under investigation, the Department does not take this incident lightly and will take whatever steps are necessary to prevent this situation from ever happening again.

The Department is reviewing the body camera, squad camera and other available video as part of the recently charged criminal investigation as well as an internal investigation of the MPD personnel involved. The Department recognizes there is a public demand for the body camera and squad camera footage relevant to this incident. Such release is pending the conclusions of the aforementioned investigations."

Milwaukee police are reviewing the video and conducting an internal investigation. Surveillance video shows what appears to be a police officer checking the van before it was towed away. At this point, the 4-year-old is inside. 

According to a criminal complaint, Blair Springfield was driving with her cousin and two young children in the car. They stopped when they ran out of gas and flagged down an MCTS bus. Springfield's 10-month-old baby was kept on the bus until police arrived and towed the van to the city tow lot with the 4-year-old still in the back seat. 

No one noticed the child until the next day. She spent a night in below freezing temperatures inside the van. 

The family tells CBS 58 that the younger child went home with a cousin before Blair Springfield's arrest, but the next day both she and the 4-year-old were placed in foster care. While the child survived the cold, her aunt thinks she's scared. 

"One day you're at home, you wake up in a cold van around a hundred to one messed up cars, next thing you know you're in the hospital, you're out playing with your cousins, and then boom, snatched right back out and you're back around strangers again," said Asia Springfield, the child's aunt. 

Blair Springfield has a preliminary hearing on November 27. Other family members are meeting with Child Protective Services on Tuesday to talk about taking the 4-year-old and her 1-year-old sister out of foster care. 


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