Father arrested after infant is left alone in Bellingham supermarket parking lot

A 34-year-old man was arrested Saturday on suspicion of reckless endangerment, accused of leaving his infant child alone in a car at a Bellingham supermarket.

Benjamin Manual Morales was released Monday after posting $2,000 bond, according to jail records.

Police Lt. Claudia Murphy told The Bellingham Herald that Morales said he left the child with a woman whom he described as a friend.

“A witness reported seeing a woman sitting in a Mazda with an infant in the back seat. When the witness returned approximately 8 minutes later, the woman was not in the car any longer, but the infant was in the back seat, unattended,” Murphy told The Herald.

Officers went to the Safeway on Sunset Drive about 3:30 p.m. Saturday to talk to the witness, who was waiting with the baby in the car. All the windows were down and the keys were in the ignition, Murphy said in an email.

Weather on Saturday was sunny with a high of 75 degrees, according to National Weather Service records for Bellingham.

“Officers removed the infant from the car and took them to the station and took care of the infant while trying to locate the registered owner of the Mazda. Eventually the registered owner was found, who was at work in another local city,” Murphy said.

Police officers found the mother and took the baby to her, Murphy said.

A patrol officer found Morales in the Safeway bathroom and arrested him at 6 p.m. Saturday, Murphy said.

He was booked on suspicion of third-degree abandonment of a dependent person, a gross misdemeanor under Washington state law.