HEDWIG VILLAGE, Texas – A Houston mother accused of abandoning her four-year-old daughter inside a department store said it was an accident, not a crime.
Carmen Hernandez Sierra is a single mom who is out of work and taking care of five children with child support. However, what happened inside a Hedwig Village Ross department store could tear her family apart.
“I can’t (offer explanation),” Sierra said. “It was a big mistake.”
Sierra was there shopping for a quinceañera Saturday night. She brought five kids, but left with four. Police said the manager and security guard found Sierra’s four-year-old daughter wandering alone inside the store. For at least 35 minutes, they searched the store, parking lot and even made PA announcements in English and Spanish. Still, they did not find the girl’s mother. So, management called police.
Officers said a woman showed up claiming to be Sierra’s friend and said the girl’s mother was on her way.
“I didn’t leave my baby there, it was a mistake,” Sierra said.
She did not want her face on camera. However, from inside her home, Sierra told KHOU 11 News what happened was an accident.
“It was because I had a lot of stuff in my hands and (I) told her let’s go,” Sierra said. “She was behind me, but she like, ran inside the clothes and hid.”
Sierra said 15 minutes after leaving the store, she immediately returned, but was slowed by traffic. So far, Child Protective Services is not involved. Sierra hopes to keep it that way.