HOUSTON—A father is charged with felony child endangerment after police say he drove off, leaving his baby son strapped in a car seat, in the parking lot between a Food Mart and a Mexican restaurant.
The child’s mother says the couple fought and the father put their baby out onto the hot pavement, but another witness claims the mother did it.
It was Mother’s Day and a busy one at Tio ChuCho on West Road in northwest Harris County. Manager Rick Sanchez was working the door and looked out into the parking lot.
“It was crazy,” he recalled.
The restaurant security cameras captured it all. A couple argued in the parking lot. One took a baby in a car seat, and puts it onto the cement.
“That’s the baby. That’s the baby right there in the car seat,” Sanchez said as he pointed to the video.
Then moments later, just after 4 p.m., the man drove off with the mom running behind, both left the 10-month-old baby in the parking lot.
“He just dropped the kid and left, crazy, they fight I think,” Sanchez said.
Customers leaving the restaurant had a front row view.
“When the mother came out, she was yelling and screaming at him, running through the parking lot, trying to chase him,” a witness said. “When he pulled away, he took off, there was the baby sitting in his car seat, in the parking lot alone.”
Authorities identified the man as 34-year-old Billy Joe Davis, the child’s father. The mom, Ke Maria Zhane Murphy, claims he’s the one who put their child in the parking lot.
May Cain, the baby’s grandmother and suspect’s mother, doesn’t believe it, saying her son is being set up by his girlfriend.
“She been trying to get him in trouble, because he don’t want to be with her,” Cain said. “She really want to be with him, she told me, ‘I love him. I love him.’”
Ruwan Silva, a clerk at the Food Mart said the man didn’t take the baby out of the car. Silva recalled the man came into his store first that day, saying he was trying to avoid a fight with the woman because he has a criminal history and didn’t want police involved.
The clerk remembered both men watched as the woman took the baby and car seat out and put it on the pavement.
“I didn’t understand why she did that. It was hot and the baby was screaming,” Silva said.
Silva said the man clearly knew the baby was in the parking lot, got in the car and drove off as the woman watched.
Authorities are now looking for Davis.