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Man charged with abandoning young girl in car near Gonzaga

UPDATED: Mon., May 15, 2017, 11:31 p.m.

Spokane police say a young girl was left alone in a car with the windows rolled down for hours Friday night and into Saturday morning, as temperatures dropped to 39 degrees.

A group of Gonzaga University students found the girl, who is about 3 years old, just before 2 a.m. and alerted campus security, according to court documents. Police were called and later arrested the owner of the car, 27-year-old Shad E. Smith.

The car was in a parking lot at 700 N. Division St. where a student housing complex abuts the Red Lion River Inn. The girl was asleep, strapped into a booster seat with a sweatshirt over her. The rear window was broken out and covered with plastic, and the rest of the windows were rolled down, according to court documents.

Police wrote that the girl “was scared and confused once awake” and that her hands and legs “were very cold to the touch,” noting the cold weather.

Gonzaga security guards obtained surveillance footage and gave it to police. According to court documents, it shows Smith parking the car shortly before 11 p.m., attempting to open a side door of the hotel and then leaving the area.

Smith returned to the car once before police arrived, and he “appeared to be intoxicated, stumbling all over,” an officer wrote. Smith “did not appear to remove anything, let alone (the girl), from the vehicle.” His wallet and ID were on the front passenger seat.

Court documents don’t describe Smith’s arrest, but Spokane County Jail records indicate he was booked before 11 a.m. Saturday. He has one previous felony conviction and a pending hit-and-run case in Spokane County District Court. He now faces a charge of second-degree abandonment of a dependent person.

The girl is in the custody of the state. Court documents don’t indicate if she is Smith’s daughter.


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