Man Left Toddler in Freezing Car for 5 Hours

SPOKANE, Wash. – Surveillance video from a South Hill gas station shows the man Spokane Police said abandoned his two-year-old son for hours.

Charles Fife told a clerk working inside the gas station at 29th and Grand on Tuesday, that he needed help finding his car and the child inside.

“It angered her very much, it was the maddest she’s been at somebody in a long time,” said Erick Athos, the manager of the gas station.

That clerk later told her manager she could not believe the man did not want to call 911.

The clerk said Fife kept walking in and out of the store. She eventually contacted police on her own.

When the clerk confronted Fife, her manager said Fife replied, “I just don’t want to talk to the cops, my son is tough. He can handle it.”

Charles Fife spent about 30 minutes inside this gas station. Surveillance video shows Fife spending time by the cash register and pacing around the store by the chairs and tables when he said he was looking for his two-year-old son.

Thanks to the clerk calling police, officers found the toddler inside a car parked in a neighborhood near Comstock Park, about a mile away from the gas station.

Spokane Police got to the boy after 9:30 p.m. and estimate he was in the car for five hours. The temperature was around freezing that day.

“The conditions were deplorable,” Spokane Police Officer Teresa Fuller. “The child was in nothing by a t-shirt and pants.”

Officers said the child may have passed out and could have developed frostbite in the time he was left alone.

“His feet were very cold,” Officer Fuller explained. “He was saying, ‘ow’ when the nurses were tending to him and pointing to his feet.”

The charge of abandoning a child would be the latest felony for Fife who already has 12 on his record.

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Eric Write head editor and chief at The Pluto Daily