New charge for Lynbrook nanny accused of leaving tot in hot minivan

Nassau County police charged a Lynbrook nanny with leaving a 3-year-old girl locked in a hot minivan in early afternoon on June 24, 2014, while she went into a Target store in Hicksville. Police also charged the nanny, Christine Nunes, 37, with petty larceny for suspected shoplifting. (Credit: Jim Staubitser and Howard Schnapp)

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A Lynbrook nanny accused of leaving a 3-year-old in a hot, locked minivan while she allegedly shoplifted goods from a Target store appeared in Nassau County Court on Friday -- where she was arraigned on a grand jury indictment that included an additional charge.

Christine Nunes, 37, who was initially arrested in June and held on $50,000 cash bail or bond, has now been charged with second-degree reckless endangerment in addition to the earlier charges of first-degree reckless endangerment, endangering the welfare of a child and petty larceny.

Judge George Peck continued her bail at $50,000 cash or bond. She is due back in court Aug. 22, officials said.

Nassau County police and prosecutors said Nunes left the girl in the backseat of a 2006 Dodge Caravan in the Broadway Mall parking lot in Hicksville at about 1 p.m. June 24 -- while she went inside to shoplift merchandise from Target.

A passerby spotted the child alone in the minivan and called police at about 1:30 p.m.

When officers arrived, the girl was sweating and visibly hot, having been locked inside for about 35 minutes with the windows rolled up, all as the temperature inside the minivan reached an estimated 100 degrees, police said.

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Using a lockout kit, Second Precinct officers unlocked the car and opened the windows. At about that time, police said, Nunes returned to the car, and officers determined she had stolen merchandise from Target.

She was arrested without incident, police said, and the girl was taken to a hospital, where she was treated for dehydration and released to her father.

"When this defendant made the choice to leave a toddler in a car on a hot and sunny day, she knowingly put the life of the little girl in her care at risk," Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice said in a statement Friday, adding: "Were it not for chance, the quick-thinking of a passerby, and the efforts of first responders, this defendant would be facing even more serious charges than those announced today."

Nunes faces up to 7 years in prison if convicted.

With Khloe Meitz

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