Dad arrested after toddler left in car outside Mesquite theater

A father is behind bars after he left his 2-year-old daughter locked in his car while he was inside a Mesquite movie theater.

Customers going in and out of the AMC 30 off Interstate 635 and Gross Road spotted the toddler inside a white Chrysler 300 and informed employees.

A woman named Bianca and her sister were running late to a movie at the theater when her sister noticed the toddler sitting in the car. She yelled for Bianca to get help. Bianca alerted employees, who called police.

"When I first seen her, she wasn't responsive and that's when my sister's and my hearts dropped like, 'Oh my god,'" said Bianca.

Officers found the child, named Leona, still strapped in her car seat with the car locked, the engine off and windows rolled up. Firefighters were able to free her by smashing through a window.

Video from SKY 4 showed officers caring for the little girl, who did not appear to be hurt.

A short time later her father Leroy Price, came out of the theater and was questioned by police. Price said he thought he had dropped her off at daycare sometime before 8 a.m. and then went home for a nap before coming to the theater to watch a movie.

Price was arrested at the scene for outstanding traffic warrants, but later was charged with abandoning or endangering a child.

"People get confused, they're tired, they get distracted with other things and it's easy to forget a sleeping child in the backseat and we don't want to have any more tragedies like we've had in the past," said Lt. Brian Parrish of Mesquite police.

The child was held by police until she could be reunited with other family members.

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