- Veronica Elliott, 35, was charged with child neglect without great bodily harm after reportedly leaving her little girl in an unattended vehicle
- She claimed she was going to the bar to meet a man and woke up hours later in a different vehicle, according to a police report
- Elliott faces up to five years in prison or probation and a $5,000 fine
A Florida mother has been charged with child neglect after allegedly leaving her daughter in an unlocked car for hours while she drank at a local bar.
Veronica Roxanne Elliott, 35, was arrested after leaving her seven-year-old daughter in an unattended vehicle outside The Perfect Spot Restaurant and Bar in DeLand, Florida, on Sunday.
After a few hours, the child wandered into the bar looking for her mother and patrons quickly phoned the police.
When officers arrived around 3am, they learned the child was left in an unlocked car, which was turned off, in the dark lot.
Veronica Elliott, 35, was charged with one count of child neglect without great bodily harm
The Florida mom’s seven-year-old was left in an unattended, unlocked car while Elliott drank inside, police say
An officer stayed with the little girl while other officers searched for Elliott.
They brought out a police dog, who tracking the mom when Elliott appeared around 6.30am, asking for the time, police say
She was covered in dirt, swaying and missing her shoes.
Elliott appeared surprised by the officers’ answer, authorities said. She told officers she only meant to be away for 10 minutes.
Police concluded her slurred speech and body movements were consistent with a person under the influence, and she was taken into custody.
According to a police report, Elliott said she was going to the bar to meet a man and woke up hours later in a vehicle on the other side of the parking lot.
Her daughter was left alone near other cars where people were sleeping and drinking alcohol, officials say.
The little girl was left alone in the parking lot of The Perfect Spot Restaurant and Bar in DeLand, Florida
When police found Elliott, she was swaying, covered in a layer of dirt and missing her shoes
The 35-year-old claimed she had only meant to be gone for 10 minutes. She was at the bar to meet a man and woke up in a different vehicle across the parking lot hours later
Elliott, who also goes by Veronica Bell, was charged with child neglect without great bodily harm.
The charge is a third-degree felony. She faces up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine if convicted.
Elliott was booked into the Volusia County Branch Jail and released the following day after posting a $2,500 surety bond.
The Florida Department of Children and Families took custody of her daughter.