10-month-old found locked in a car outside Diamondhead business

Candace Groves
Candace Groves

Police say a Diamondhead woman left her baby locked in a vehicle with the windows rolled up while she went shopping Friday evening.

Candace Pearl Groves, 33, faces charges of felony child endangerment and felony possession of a controlled substance.

Diamondhead Police Chief John Luther said officers responded about 9 p.m. after a passer-by reported seeing a child in a car in a parking lot.

The 10-month-old was found alone in the car with the engine off, the windows rolled up and the doors locked, Luther said.

After firefighters got the child out, EMT units determined from an examination that the baby was in good health.

Officers found Groves in the store and took her into custody. They determined from the store’s surveillance footage that Groves had left her baby alone in the car for more than a half-hour, Luther said.

“It’s not like she forgot something inside and was just running in to grab it,” Luther said of Groves. “She was in there for over 30 minutes.”

He said the child could have easily become the victim of an opportunistic predator.

Officers also conducted a search of the vehicle and found prescription medications that were not prescribed to Groves, prompting the drug-possession charge, the police chief said.

Groves is being held at the Hancock County jail on bonds totaling $40,000. However, she is unable to make bail because of a hold placed on her by another agency regarding an unrelated incident.

The baby was placed in the care of a relative.

Wesley Muller: 228-896-2322, @WesleySMuller