Police: Child Left Valleyfair in Car Trunk

Witnesses called Shakopee Police after seeing a car leave the Valleyfair parking lot with a child in the trunk.

OUTSIDE MINNEAPOLIS -- A local woman has been charged with child endangerment after allegedly forcing her nephew to ride home in the trunk of her car.

Susan Marie McCarty, 38, of Edina, allegedly told police she made the child ride home in the trunk from Valleyfair because he had just been on a water ride and she did not want the leather seats in her car to get wet.

If convicted, McCarty could face a fine of up to $3,000 and a prison sentence of up to one year.

Shakopee Police were called to the Valleyfair parking lot Aug. 23 after witnesses observed a male child climb into the trunk of the car with two female adults standing by. Witnesses stated that after the adults entered the car, another child, his sister, left the car and shut the trunk. They did not see the boy leave the trunk, and they obtained the car’s license plate.

Shakopee Police ran the plate, which indicated an Edina address. The Edina Police found the car and made a traffic stop. The boy was no longer in the car at the time of the stop. According to the police complaint:

The Edina woman "admitted to transporting her nephew in the trunk of the vehicle because he was soaking wet and she did not want the leather seats to get wet… The back seat center console/cup holder was allegedly folded forward, leaving a hole approximately the size of a piece of paper for air movement to reach [the child]… When he claimed to be getting warm in the trunk, the air vents were aimed directly at the hole."

In a recorded interview, the boy’s sister said that he was told he would have to ride in the trunk if he continued to go on water rides and that he appeared excited to do so. The boy said that he would have rather sat in the car than in the trunk, but did not question the decision.

Percheron1 September 20, 2012 at 10:17 PM
Pat...the difference between a bad decision and extensive criminal charges is a set of circumstances that result in a BAD outcome...if her Lexus had an exhaust leak...or if she had been rear-ended...et cetera...:(
Angela September 20, 2012 at 10:24 PM
Stupid people doing stupid things.
ROSE September 20, 2012 at 10:35 PM
I totally agree. The nurse and her comments............yes, you have the right to your comments, but wtf? There is no excuse to put a child at any age in a trunk of a car. If you think it is ok......I feel sorry for your children, if you have any. If you don't, please take a parenting class and you are a nurse? SMFH
Lucy September 20, 2012 at 10:50 PM
Are you high??? Not endangerment??? What if the selfish witch was rearended by a drunk driver? The child would have been killed!!!
MARY September 20, 2012 at 11:01 PM
Jon Y September 20, 2012 at 11:48 PM
Rose, I dont agree with the woman on any account my whole point, is that this story was not very credible and people should not get upset over it. Obviously a woman who values her leather seat more than a child should not have any business taking care of children, but honestly do you really think its worth the waste of money to prosecute her or send her to a parenting class since she isnt a parent, when as i said there are much bigger issues, like children starving in our country, its all about priorities, and once again, my severity of how dangerous depends on the age of the child, you and i both know if it was a 6 year old would be way worse than if it was a 16 yr old. Also i would like to point out that in some states seat belts are not required in back seats.
Jon Y September 20, 2012 at 11:52 PM
Alle What if the child was in his seat buckled in and a truck hit his side of the door, major damage probably and what if he wasnt in his seatbelt and the force of the collision shoved him over instead of restraining him probably less damage. What If What If. And for someone like her, that values her car more than a person will neve probably change.
Jon Y September 21, 2012 at 12:16 AM
Mary, Why should they be sterilized? Are you saying that you have never put a child in danger, lack of education and common sense doesn,t mean she should be horribly punished. Who's fault is that she is ignorant?
Jon Y September 21, 2012 at 12:25 AM
Mary, If you say that you have never put a child in danger i will say you are wrong, everytime you drive with your child in the car you put them in danger, everytime you fly on a plain train they are in danger. You ever let a child ride a bike with out a helmet, if you have you have put that child in way more danger than her putting a child in the truck for a short time, The number one trauma to young boys is head injuries from not wearing the proper equipment. Have you ever let a child play foot ball. The new studies show that full contact football is the most dangerous activity for a boy, the studies show that even small concussion have significant impacts later in life, especially when its repeated over years and years of playing foot ball in school and is being dismissed by most people because of how much value you place on the sport of football. Now with that said if you went and read the studies you would realize that just how much danger that we put are children in, in the name of sports, and you want to condemn people and sterilize them for poor choices. I would be very careful who you condemn and for what cause you nor i are perfect and we all make mistakes. Also as i said earlier, go back and reread the story, there are lots of questions that i would have before making a judgement. Did she make a bad choice yes she did.
Jon Y September 21, 2012 at 12:31 AM
Rose, how much more dangerous is it to let a child take the shoulder part off and just have the lap belt on, you know the reason that automakers are forced to put lap and shoulder belts in back seats? Because just wearing a lap belt alone is far more deadly to children (internal organ damage, sometimes way later in life) than the combination, therefore
Jon Y September 21, 2012 at 12:39 AM
LOL sorry all for the spelling errors i need a personal editor :)
Jennifer Heinrich September 21, 2012 at 02:54 AM
You are a bozo, Perhaps you should try it. Then you will be a better judge of travel options, Oh, I hope the car doesn't get hit by another car, or swerve causing spinal cord or head damage. The government could become your best friend
Diane McCormick September 21, 2012 at 03:35 AM
Reading the comments here, only one person mentions heat, almost as an aside. When a car sits in the sun for any length of time it gets very hot, up to 140 degrees depending on the weather. Now, how would one expect to cool the trunk? Certainly not through the tiny cup holder spot. If the back seat were folded down, maybe, but it still wouldn't be safe in any regard.
Kitzer September 21, 2012 at 03:45 AM
LOCAL NEWSPAPER stated that it was ABOVE 80 degrees that day!! More than just a 'tad hot' when you are inside of a metal container! The boy DID tell 'Auntie Dearest' that he was getting hot! And to top off an asinine story -- 'Auntie Dearest' didn't want to get the leather seats of her LEXUS wet!!!!
Kitzer September 21, 2012 at 04:07 AM
Jon Y - answering some of your questions -- Also, the car had been sitting out in the 80 degree HEAT while they were at Valleyfair!! The boy is 11 and there is MAJOR freeway between Shakopee and Edina! Valleyfair is an amusement park with rides etc. Edina is 1st tier 'burb of Minneapolis and Shakopee is at least 3rd tier 'burb. The distance between is MORE than just a few miles! In addition to her possibly 1 year in jail - possible $3,000.00 in fines. She will probably pay a heck of a lot more than that to store her precious LEXUS!!
Highlyfavoredbygod87 September 21, 2012 at 12:49 PM
Too many people talking about what ifs... Yeah thé aunt made a bad judgement call but who are any of you guys to judge her. That is what's wrong with thé world today. Only God has thé authority to judge. Bring awareness to thé issue but dont sit here judging this woman.
Kitzer September 21, 2012 at 11:21 PM
From the trunk, the boy 'mentioned, that he was HOT!! At what point that was, it was not mentioned in the local news! Bering at Valleyfair, the LEXUS, had obviously, sat out in the 80 degree heat for quite some time!! He was TOLD to get in the trunk!! What the heck was he suppose to do, get 'Auntie Deasest's' leather seats wet?? He did NOT say 'Auntie Dearest', please put me in the trunk so I can see what it feels like to sweat my --- off!! Why don't you try doing that sometime and then you will see how much EMOTIONAL STRESS you will suffer!! P.S. -- I'll gladly help you in and slam the trunk shut for you!!
Kitzer September 21, 2012 at 11:25 PM
HUH??? What an idiot!! 'Auntie Dearest' in the LEXUS would NEVER think of KIDS eating or drinking anything in HER car!!
Kitzer September 21, 2012 at 11:28 PM
She drove a lot farther than 'A block'. Think FREEWAY!!
Stephanie Pakenham September 22, 2012 at 10:42 PM
Dang right I'm going to judge this lady. That is MEAN what she did. Hopefully the parents don't allow this aunt to see their child again. RUDE!
BK September 24, 2012 at 02:12 PM
Yeah, no danger...unless she got in a car accident or was rear ended and the kid was killed because he had no seat belt or airbag protection. How stupid, her leather seats were more important than a kid's life.
MLawyer September 24, 2012 at 04:11 PM
I expect the charges will be dismissed. It may have been foolish for her to do it, but it probably wasn't "likely" to cause substantial harm, which is the standard in MN. It may take the prosecutor a while to come to grips with this, but doing the right thing as a prosecutor sometimes means dismissing charges (we've all seen Law and Order). Read State v. Tice, which is a case cited in this excerpt from Zahl: "In order to convict Zahl of child endangerment, the state was required to prove that he endangered C. [*15] by "intentionally or recklessly causing or permitting [the] child to be placed in a situation likely to substantially harm the child's physical, mental, or emotional health or cause the child's death." Minn. Stat. § 609.378, subd. 1 (b)(1). "[C]hild-neglect and child-endangerment statutes require that [the actor's] conduct was more likely than not to result in substantial harm to the [child]." State v. Tice, 686 N.W.2d 351, 355 (Minn. App. 2004), review denied 2004 Minn. LEXIS 748 (Minn. Nov. 16, 2004)." State v. Zahl Also, the flawed logic in the comments is the assumption that an accident was "likely" or more likely than not. What if instead of driving for 30 minutes, the car sat in the Valley Fair parking lot for 30 minutes? Still think its 51% probable that substantial harm would result? Probably more like 0%. Why would adding the remote possibility of an accident while driving make it 51% probable. Doesn't add up.
Kitzer September 25, 2012 at 02:55 AM
Sure lawyer -- 30 more minutes in the trunk of the car in the Valleyfair parking lot would have/could have led to the boy's death!! I guess in your quest to play the big-shot lawyer, you conviently forgot that it was OVER 80 DEGREES that day!!! Did you even think about how hot it would have been in that trunk for 30 more minutes?? I guess not!!
MLawyer September 25, 2012 at 03:03 PM
This is from Wikipedia: "A straw man, known in the UK as an Aunt Sally, is a type of argument and is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent's position. To "attack a straw man" is to create the illusion of having refuted a proposition by replacing it with a superficially similar yet unequivalent proposition (the "straw man"), and refuting it, without ever having actually refuted the original position." You focus intensely on 80 degrees, to the exclusion of many other more relevant facts. First, the boy was wet, and probably cooler because of that. Second, he was wearing a swimsuit, not a winter coat. Third, the A/C was on in the car and was blowing into the trunk. In constructing your straw man argument, these are important facts that you “conviently” [sic] forgot. State v. Tice was a case involving cold weather, not warm weather, but it's right on point. In that case, three children, the oldest of whom was six years old, were left inside a car for 40 minutes on a day when it was 7 degrees. Straw man logic would say 7 degrees is too cold for kids and that leaving them was endangerment. But the interior of the car was warm, negating concerns about the temp outside. The car was also locked, and the oldest child refused to open the door for anyone except his parents. The case did not go to a jury. It was just dismissed for lack of probable cause, meaning it never should have been charged in the first place. The same will happen here.
Kitzer September 25, 2012 at 11:18 PM
Leave Aunt Sally across the pond! And I couldn't care less about a person named Tice! This is not about Aunt Sally OR Tice!! First - He was on a 'Water Ride', NOT in a swimming pool, lake or pond! Second - He was wearing clothes, NOT a 'swimsuit'! Third - He was not WET, Auntie Dearest said he was DAMP! Fourth - You must be trying to get a LEXUS driving, rich EDINA client!
kitcho October 01, 2012 at 05:14 AM
What is the big deal putting any one, including a child in the truck. She can have a kid anytime or she can buy a kid from less developing countries cheap. But her car is her show and tell of her life. Big deal
Linda Kasper October 17, 2012 at 05:46 PM
Agree, this was a case of poor judgement. Auntie did take the kids to Valley Fair, I thought that was real nice. I also agree with the nurse that spoke up earlier, seat belts do not guarantee safety. Ever wonder why a list of people who died because they were wearing safety belts is not published ?
Kitzer October 17, 2012 at 09:26 PM
What a morbid comment!! To satisify your blood lust, maybe you should head out to the MORGUE after every auto accident just to find out if the mangled, bloody body of the person was wearing a seat belt!!
Linda Kasper October 18, 2012 at 08:39 AM
Why would you think something like that ?
MLawyer October 23, 2012 at 05:41 PM
I'm tempted to put Kitzer in his place, but I don't think anything I say will have much of an impact on his behavior, so I'll refrain. The First Amendment protects his right to be a goofball, and a working keyboard protects his right to overuse the exclamation point.


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