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Arizona Mother Leaves Two Kids in Car, has $90K Raised For Help

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(AP)--An Arizona mother has pleaded not guilty to child abuse charges in connection with leaving her children in a hot car while she interviewed for a job.
The 35-year-old Phoenix woman's plight has garnered national attention on social media. Shanesha Taylor had an interview last month at an insurance company in Scottsdale, but she couldn't find a babysitter for her 2-year-old son and 6-month old baby.


Sympathy? Shanesha Taylor, 35,  had an interview last month and left her two sons in the car, That ill-fated decision landed the mother in jail where she was arraigned on two charges of child abuse.


Trying to get out from under the dark cloud of unemployment and food stamps, Taylor made the decision to leave her children in her Dodge Durango outside the office where she was interviewing with the key still in the ignition. 


She was arrested after a witness noticed the infant crying hysterically and sweating profusely as temperatures inside the vehicle exceeded 100 degrees. 
The case has attracted considerable attention online after a fundraising site created by Amanda Bishop, a New Jersey woman, was set up for Taylor - and quickly amassed nearly $90,000. 


Taylor's tearful police mugshot, the danger she put her children in, and her dilemma of trying to juggle a lack of child care with her job pursuit all have contributed to the debate.


According to police, someone heard a child crying inside a Dodge Durango parked in an office complex parking in a Scottsdale, Arizona. Taylor was inside a nearby insurance company conducting a job interview.


Bishop said she couldn't get the tear-streaked mugshot image out of her head. She said she was inspired to set up the fundraising page because she could relate to growing up in a family that doesn't have a lot of money.


'I had a mother and family in general who struggled raising us and had to rely on other resources to provide for us and sometimes made not the greatest choices,' Bishop said.But prosecutors point out that Taylor's actions put the safety of her children in danger.


According to court documents, Scottsdale firefighters found the windows of the vehicle rolled down only an inch and no running air conditioning to keep the children cool.  The baby was described as wearing a short-sleeve shirt over a long-sleeve shirt, as well as a blanket. Taylor arrived back at the car more than an hour after her interview time, the documents said.


'Everything is focused on the mother and understandably so. It seems to be a very compelling human interest story,' County Attorney Bill Montgomery said at a recent news conference. 'But I'm equally concerned and compelled about the circumstances those two children were in.'


The situation faced by Shanesha has been donations flock her way to give her a helping hand with almost $92,000 raised. Montgomery said it's too soon to determine if Taylor will receive a prison term or face losing custody of her children. Her offenses could amount to a sentence ranging from probation to seven years in prison, prosecutors said.


Bishop established the site for Taylor on YouCaring.com with the goal of raising $9,000. She was flabbergasted when the site reached the goal in four days and then exceeded it by tens of thousands of dollars. She has since spoken on the phone with Taylor about getting the money to her.


'I was very surprised at how strong she is. I was expecting a broken-down woman and [for her to be] devastated,' Bishop said. 'But she is focusing on just getting her children back.'The site has received more than a thousand comments, some of which accuse Bishop and other supporters of endorsing child abuse. Bishop said Taylor should not be condemned for one bad decision.


'She could have been at a bar or at a club and leaving her children in the car,' Bishop said. 'Here's a woman who is an example of someone who is trying -- who is trying to better her situation and doing what she can to provide for her children.'

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