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William Adams

William Adams

A 31-year-old Missoula man was released on his own recognizance Wednesday after being charged with allegedly leaving a child in a hot car, forcing firefighters to break a window to free the 2-year-old.

William Raynold Adams is charged with a felony for child criminal endangerment, as well as misdemeanors for marijuana possession and theft following an incident Monday in the parking lot of Missoula Fresh Market on Broadway.

Police were called to the parking lot after getting a report that a child was strapped in a car seat inside a van that was not running. According to court records, the child was red in the face, crying and sweating. The outside air temperature was 86 degrees.

After being unable to locate the driver, the fire department was called and broke a window of the van to free the child, who was taken to the hospital and found to be dehydrated.

A short time later Adams allegedly walked toward the vehicle and told police he had only been in the store for about 20 minutes.

According to a chart published by the Department of Meteorology and Climate Science at San Jose State University, the temperature inside a car rises by 29 degrees in 20 minutes — meaning it would have been about 115 degrees in the van.

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Adams allegedly told the officers he did not know the child was even in the van, and hadn’t heard or noticed him in the back seat. According to court records, when asked how the child came to be there and strapped into his car seat, Adams allegedly said the 2-year-old may have done it himself or that his girlfriend may have put the child in the van without telling him.

The girlfriend — the child’s mother — was found at a motel, and said she had asked Adams to take the child with him on errands, and that Adams put him in the car seat.

While being searched during his arrest, police allegedly found a container of butane hash oil in his pocket, as well as a pair of candy bars that were not listed on the receipt of what he bought from the store. The theft charge related to the candy bars.

According to court records, Adams appeared in Missoula County Justice Court on Wednesday, where Justice of the Peace Marie Andersen released him on his own recognizance with drug monitoring. Adams is also not allowed to be alone with the child.

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Law and Justice Reporter

Crime reporter for the Missoulian.