Mother Arrested on Drug, Child Endangerment Charges After 3-Year-Old Found in Alone in Car in Sierra National Forest

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A woman is under arrest after detectives said she allegedly left her 3-year-old daughter alone in the car overnight in a remote area and was under the influence of a drug believed to be methamphetamine, according to the Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office.

Heather Escandon (Courtesy: Mariposa County Sheriff's Office)

Heather Escandon (Courtesy: Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office)

A Mariposa woman riding a horse near Hites Cove Road in the Sierra National Forest discovered a young girl and dog alone in a car stuck off the roadway on Wednesday.

The little girl was wearing a T-shirt and was cold to the touch so the rider took off her jacket and wrapped her up before loading her onto her horse, according to the Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office. The rider rode to an area where she had cell phone reception.

After speaking with the little girl, deputies determined that a search and rescue team was needed to find the girl’s mother. A CHP helicopter was called out to help with the search.

A sheriff’s deputy searching the area located the mother, identified as 27-year-old Heather Escandon of Coarsegold, hiding in the bushes.

At the scene, Escandon was uncooperative with deputies. However, she told deputies she became stuck in the area last Sunday and left on foot sometime on Tuesday to look for help, leaving the 3-year-old girl overnight in the vehicle.

While speaking with the woman, deputies determined she was under the influence of a stimulant, believed to be methamphetamine, according to the sheriff’s office.

Escandon was arrested on a charge of felony child abuse and a misdemeanor charge of being under the influence of a controlled substance. Her bail was set at $35,000.

The 3-year-old girl was transported to the hospital for evaluation and released to her father.