BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The curiosity of a casino security guard may have saved the lives of two children left in a car during an excessive heat warning. A couple is charged with felony child abuse after an Island View Casino security guard discovered their 11-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter in a car with the windows rolled up and the motor not running.
While making his rounds on Saturday afternoon, Island View officials said a security officer was approached by a guest about a vehicle parked on the far end of the lot away from all the other cars.
"A guest approached him and said, 'Listen, I screened in all the windows in my car to protect it from the sun.' The officer didn't think much of it and just continued on his route," said John MacGeorge, Director of Security at the casino. "A half an hour or so later, he was passing by that particular vehicle and became curious by it. Got out and started looking at the vehicle. Then he noticed there was people in it. Found out to be two children."
Those children were an 11-year-boy and a 9-year-old girl. MacGeorge said it was not easy to coax the kids to open the door.
"We were just about to break the window when one of the kids got up and finally opened the door for us," said MacGeorge. "We got them some water and got them in the building. Got them refreshed, but they were sweating a lot. We notified the authorities."
Gulfport police said while the kids were sweating in the car, their parents, James Dunn, 32, and Monique Newton, 33, both of Meridian, were inside the casino.
"A child just sitting in a vehicle without the engine running. It could have been a lot worse than what it was," said Sgt. Damon McDaniel, spokesman for the Gulfport Police Department. "You could have had a lot of heat related injuries take place. Death."
Island View security officials said they're thankful this story didn't end in tragedy.
"We can put a lot of cameras and a lot of alarms and a lot of devices in place, but having a human being there to make decisions and be curious is an added bonus," said MacGeorge.
Gulfport police said the Department of Human Services took custody of the two children. Officers said the children were evaluated by ambulance workers. Although they were extremely sweaty, they were okay.