VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - A father facing charges for leaving his 3-year-old child in a hot car opened up about the incident and said he doesn't want other parents to make the same mistake he did.
Kelly said that he wants to tell other parents about the dangers of leaving your child in a car. He said he is not looking for forgiveness but wants to spread awareness after his child was taken away from him.
"We messed up," said Kelly. "We messed up big. That baby did not deserve to be left in the car."
On July 31, Timothy Kelly and his girlfriend Jessica Brown were arrested for leaving their 3-year-old daughter in the car for 20 minutes with the engine turned off and the windows up.
Kelly and Brown were inside the Rodeo Mexican Restaurant on North Ashley Street.
Kelly reached out to WALB and said he wanted to share what was going through his mind at the time.
"We were just trying to get home and get the food, put her to bed, get her fed, get her bathed," Kelly said. "She was asleep when we first got there and we were thinking that it wasn't going to take very long."
But the Valdosta Police Department said it was a long time, 20 minutes. It was also hot, VPD said it was 86 degrees outside that day.
Kelly said that he lost track of time and he regrets his decision.
"We weren't thinking and that was our biggest mistake, not making our daughter the main priority or putting her well-being first," explained Kelly.
Kelly said that he is not looking for sympathy, he just wanted to bring awareness to the dangers of leaving children in cars.
"I'm here so they can learn from my mistakes so that their family isn't in jeopardy from a bad decision," said Kelly.
A decision he said changed his life forever.
"It's miserable," Kelly explained after being asked what his life is like now. "We've lost everything. We've lost all of our stuff, we've lost our family, it's fallen apart."
Kelly's daughter was taken into custody by the Division of Family and Children Services, and he said he never wants to see anyone go through that.
"You can blink your eye and your child can be gone, take them for granted and they can be taken away," Kelly said.
Fortunately, the 3-year-old was medically evaluated at the scene and didn't suffer any lasting effects.
Kelly and Brown are both facing charges of reckless conduct and family violence.
They are scheduled to appear in court on October 3.
The Valdosta Police Department wants to remind everyone that the temperature inside of a vehicle can rise by 29 degrees in just 20 minutes.
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