An Oklahoma casino player is now in custody for leaving her son in her car while gambling. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
Theft triggers a police search
A car theft outside an Oklahoma casino led to a nationwide search this week, but police were more concerned about the 10-year-old in the car than the vehicle itself. Authorities have found the boy safe and sound, but his mother is now charged with neglect because she left him while playing at Newcastle Casino.
The police found the car, the child and the alleged thief at a gas station
In the run-up to the incident, the player is said to have left her son on Wednesday morning around 4:30 a.m. before entering the casino. The police issued the Amber Alert at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning and triggered a nationwide manhunt for the vehicle and the child. Not long afterwards, the police found the car, the child and the alleged thief at a gas station.
Oklahoma City Police went to Twitter Wednesday to share the news:
As reported by News 9, Canadian county sheriffs have arrested the alleged thief in the case. In the meantime, the Lighthorse Police have taken the ten-year-old’s mother into custody.
Highlighting deeper problems
Oklahoma Police were able to track down the child this time, but certain groups have argued that the incident highlights certain issues related to gambling and child neglect in Oklahoma. “A child is left in a vehicle for gambling,” commented Joe Dorman of the Oklahoma Institute of Child Advocacy (OICA). âThat’s just ridiculous. That should never happen. “
people just let it slide more and more “
As reported by News on 6, Dorman believes this is only the first time police have arrested the mother, and not an isolated incident of child neglect. He speculated the problem likely revolves around gambling addiction, something he believes is too often the cause of child neglect across the state. “We see this way too often when people let it slide more and more,” he said.
The Oklahoma Association of Problem Gambling and Gaming has also noted the prevalence of child gambling neglect in the state. The group’s executive director, Wiley Harwell, said Oklahoma casinos are training their employees to look out for signs of neglect because gamblers often leave children in vehicles. He also pointed to gambling addiction as the main cause of the problem.
Not the only occasion
In a similar situation in 2019, a five-year-old child died after his grandmother left him in a car for six hours while playing at a casino in Harrah, Oklahoma. Temperatures rose to a high of 90 degrees that day. Last year, a US district judge sentenced Allanna Jean Orr to 17 years in federal prison for causing the death of her grandson.
Cases of child neglect due to gambling are not limited to just one state. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has confirmed that leaving a child in the car in a casino parking lot is a common reason for gamblers to end up on the involuntary blacklist. In one such incident in July, a father left his 11-year-old in his vehicle while he played for more than two hours at the Wind Creek Casino in Bethlehem.
There are also cases of child neglect in the US gambling center Las Vegas. Police arrested a 39-year-old man in July this year for leaving his young son in a muggy vehicle while he was gambling in a North Las Vegas casino. Authorities took the six-month-old boy to a local hospital for examination, but he survived the incident unscathed.