Police: Man left baby, dog in car while he went inside Spartanbu - FOX Carolina 21

Police: Man left baby, dog in car while he went inside Spartanburg gym

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Justin Hatcher (Source: SCSO) Justin Hatcher (Source: SCSO)

Spartanburg police said a North Carolina man was arrested after leaving an infant and a dog inside a car when he went into a fitness center on Wednesday.

Police said they were called to the Planet Fitness on East Main Street after workers at the gym got the baby out of the car. Another member of the health club saw the baby in a car seat and breathing heavily and alerted staff members, police said.

The father, 36-year-old Justin Hatcher, walked outside as police were standing next to his vehicle and asked what was going on. Police said they asked Hatcher to sit in the back of a patrol car while they investigated why a child was left in a vehicle unattended.

Hatcher reportedly told them he had just gone inside for a few minutes to use the restroom and the left the child in the car because he knew the dog would protect her. He later added that he had spoken to an employee about membership options while he was inside.

Employees said Hatcher was taken on a ten-minute tour of the gym after inquiring about a membership.

Police said security footage showed Hatcher was inside the gym for 17 minutes while the temperature outside was 94 degrees.

Hatcher was arrested and charged with child neglect.

Police said the child was placed in emergency protective custody and taken to the hospital after they were unable to get in touch with the child’s mother, who Hatcher had told them was shopping at a thrift store in the area.

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