Commerce mom arrested, toddler rescued from 90-degree apartment after 30-hours

COMMERCE, TX -- An apartment manager in Commerce saved a young boy's life, after he was locked in an apartment with temperatures close to 100-degrees for more than 24-hours.

"I went to put eviction papers on the door and I always knock on the door first," said Corners at Commerce Apartment Complex Manager Kelli Sweet. "When they don't answer I'll open the door and holler in and I heard a baby screaming."

For over 30-hours, a 22-month old child was locked in an apartment with no electricity and the heat reaching nearly 100-degrees.

"He had on a Wal-Mart plastic bag for a diaper and a pair of dirty underwear on over that," said Sweet.

Sweet cleaned up the toddler and called the police. While officers were on scene the boy's mother, 20-year-old Antoinette Escalera, arrived and was arrested for endangering a child.

During their investigation, detectives found out that the child was left unattended in the apartment from 7 a.m., Wednesday, till 3:20 p.m., Thursday.

"We left our thermometer in there for about 45-minutes and the temperature was 97-degrees," said Police Chief Kerry Crews.

Sweet says she doesn't want to think about what could have happened if she hadn't found the little boy, but Chief Crews says it could have ended in tragedy.

"In my opinion, I think we would have had a deceased child on our hands," said Crews.

Police brought the boy back to the station, where officers and dispatchers also stepped up to help.

"We had officers that played with him all night," said Crews. "We provided some diapers for him, a change of clothes, baby wipes and tried to clean him up the best we can."

"He started saying thank you a lot," said dispatcher Amanda Escobedo, who took the 911 call. "Thank you was a big word for him to everybody."

Sweet says the little boy isn't the only one that needs help.

"I pray her, she needs help," said Sweet. "The baby needs help too, but she needs it also."

Escalera is being held in the Hunt County Jail on a $50,000 bond. The boy has been taken into Child Protective Services custody.


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