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Woman accused of leaving her nephew, 7, in mall store for 4 hours

SALEM - A 45-year-old Lawrence, Mass., woman was arrested Friday after she allegedly left her 7-year-old nephew alone for hours in a store at the Mall at Rockingham Park while she went shopping.

Ana E. Matos faces a charge of endangering the welfare of a child. She was released pending arraignment on Sept. 30 in 10th Circuit Court, Salem district.

According to police, Matos was carrying shopping bags containing more than $500 worth of clothing when she returned for the child four hours after she left him at the Microsoft store at the mall.

Police were called to the mall around 12:20 p.m. Friday. Mall security told police that the 7-year-old boy had been "wandering" inside the Microsoft store alone since about 10 that morning, and attempts to find his parent or guardian had been unsuccessful.

Police officers canvassed the mall, interviewed witnesses and reviewed video from surveillance cameras. Video from the Microsoft store camera showed a woman had been with the child outside the store at 10:27 a.m.

About 2:15 p.m., shortly after police obtained a still photo from the video, Matos walked by the Microsoft store, according to a police press release. When officers told her the child had been left unattended for about four hours, Matos said she had been looking for him.

But police said the fact that she was carrying shopping bags "was an indication she was shopping and not looking for the lost child." And they said Matos had no answer when they asked why she hadn't notified mall security or the police that her nephew was missing.

Trace Adkins
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