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Kids in a hot car: 'Not even for a minute'

Union Leader Correspondent

July 18. 2013 10:49PM
Police tow the vehicle of Jeremiah Hollenbeck of Lebanon, Maine, who was arrested after Franklin police said he left his four children in the car in 97-degree heat Wednesday. (DAN SEUFERT/Union Leader Correspondent)

FRANKLIN — The man who police say left four children in a closed-up car in 97-degree weather Wednesday is being held on $50,000 cash bail.

Jeremiah Hollenbeck of Lebanon, Maine, had been inside the Family Dollar store 10-15 minutes before police rescued the children. The 5-year-old and 9-year-old, are Hollenbeck's childen; the twin 9-month-olds belong to Hollenbeck's fiancee, Christine Lindsay, also of Lebanon, Maine.

The two older children refused to open their windows when a stranger walked by and tried to help Wednesday afternoon, police said. But when police arrived after the adult called for help, they gladly opened their unlocked doors.

"When we got there, they walked right out," Franklin Police Sgt. Daniel Ball said.

Police are trained to look for unattended children and will arrest people who leave their family members in danger, Ball said.

According to the study "Heatstroke Deaths of Children in Vehicles" conducted by Dr. Jan Null of San Francisco State University, at least 21 children left unattended in vehicles have died so far this year in the United States. There were 33 such deaths in 2012.

Hollenbeck was arrested on four counts of endangering the welfare of a child. He was also charged with theft when police found he had goods stolen from the Family Dollar store, and with a felony charge of possession of a narcotic drug. Ball said the drug was one Oxycodone pill found in the car for which he had no prescription.

At his arraignment Thursday morning, Hollenbeck was ordered held on $50,000. Lindsay is presently in a drug rehabilitation facility in Maine, Ball said.

The children, who were checked out at Franklin Regional Hospital, were picked up by one of their grandfathers and taken to his home in Maine, Ball said.

Police said people should never leave a child unattended in a vehicle.

"Not even for a minute," Ball said.

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