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Man arrested after leaving girl, 2, in locked pickup in Huntington while he shopped, cops say

Suffolk County police escort Melvin Marroquin, 30, of

Suffolk County police escort Melvin Marroquin, 30, of Maryland, after his arrest on charges of endangering the welfare of a child and second-degree reckless endangerment on Thursday, July 3, 2014. He is to be arraigned Friday. Credit: Ed Betz

A 2-year-old girl was lethargic and silent after being locked in a hot pickup and was rescued as her father shopped at a Huntington department store Thursday, Suffolk police said.

A Nissan Frontier pickup, parked at the Big H Shopping Center on New York Avenue, was not running and all windows were closed when a passerby heard cries from the child about 12:40 p.m., police said.

Through tinted windows, Second Precinct officers Derek Mangi and Aaron Klein could see a girl buckled in a child car seat behind the driver's seat.

Mangi also noticed tear tracks and tears on her face.

"She looked over at me," he said. "Her hair was wet and stuck to her shoulder."

With his baton, Mangi broke the front passenger window, opened the door and carried her out.

He estimated the temperature in the truck was close to 120 degrees. Outside, it was about 80.

"She had a blank look on her face," Mangi said. "She was better off outside, that's how bad it was in the car."

After making sure she was not cut by glass, he rushed her to the air-conditioning in a nearby Payless ShoeSource and got her water.

"I asked, 'Where's mommy and daddy?' " Mangi recounted. "She didn't answer a few times, so I didn't want to bombard her, and just let her relax and cool off."

But in Spanish, the girl told a saleswoman at the store that she was 2, Mangi said.

Meanwhile, Klein went to at least three stores asking for the girl's parents.

Klein was in Marshalls, about to go on the loudspeaker, when the girl's father returned to the pickup, 10 minutes after the officers arrived, Mangi said.

Melvin Marroquin, 30, of Maryland, who was visiting relatives on Long Island and had been in Marshalls, was arrested on charges of endangering the welfare of a child and second-degree reckless endangerment. He is to be arraigned Friday.

"He told my partner, Officer Klein, that he left her in the car for around 25 minutes," Mangi said. "He just said he forgot."

His parents also returned to the Nissan with him, and had arrived for shopping in his vehicle, police said. They were not charged.

The girl was treated for heat exposure at Huntington Hospital and was to be released to her mother, who was at a relative's home. County Child Protective Services was notified, police said.

"She's just so cute and innocent, long brown hair," said Mangi, who has a son, 2, and a daughter, 2 weeks old. "It's very sad to deal with something like this."

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