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School says mom was 'too high' pick kids up

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Posted at 2:26 PM, Sep 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-18 14:26:00-04

GOLDEN GATE, Fla. -- A Collier County woman is facing a child neglect charge after deputies say she left a child alone in a car and school staff said that she was "too high" to be picking children up at an elementary school.

26-year-old Graciela Cruz-Padron was arrested Monday afternoon.

According to a Collier County Sheriff's Office report, Cruz-Padron was late picking up her daughter and two other boys belonging to a friend, and it was a common occurrence.

The school's assistant principal told deputies that Cruz-Padron was slurring her words and fell asleep while talking to staff.

During a field sobriety test, deputies say Cruz-Padron performed poorly, and tried to explain that she had a driver waiting for her.  After pointing to the wrong vehicle at first, she identified her vehicle and claimed a man was in the car to drive her. 

Deputies checked the car and found no driver, but did find a young child sleeping in the back seat.  Cruz-Padron appeared to have forgotten that the child was in her car.  The child was unharmed and the car was running with the A/C on, but the child was alone for 48 minutes.

When the daughter's biological father arrived to take custody of the children at the school, he asked where his son was, and that he was supposed to be enrolled with his sister at the school.  Cruz-Padron said she didn't know where he was, and the school confirmed the boy was not enrolled.  DCF investigators later found the child and were placing him in custody of the father.

Cruz-Padron was booked into the Collier County Jail and remains in custody on $1,000 bond.