UPDATE: Boiled Walmart Baby

A friend of Ritta’s has written in to corroborate what Ritta reported and answer some of the questions that were raised by Consumerist’s readers. Kathryn says:

• At the time of the baby’s entrapment, no cell phone was immediately available.
• After the baby was okay, police were called. They arrived but did not file a report as neglecting to help someone is not a crime.
• The ambulance that was heard was not for Ritta. The road Walmart sits on is by a major thoroughfare and several ambulance go by a day.
• Press was contacted, The North West Florida Daily News.

If the family still feels strongly, we advise contacting more news outlets, especially local TV stations.

Above is a satellite photo of where the incident occurred.

Is it Walmart’s fault the baby was trapped in the car? No. Should Walmart employees have helped? Yes, but the responsibility is not on the corporate, but the basic human level.

Kathryn’s full text inside.

Kathryn writes:

“Mr. Popken-

I just read the story about Ritta and the baby, and the subsequent comment posted by Patrick. I am a friend of Ritta. I heard about your website from my brother-in-law. He suggested that I tell Ritta about it and get her to contact you. I want to assure you that this story is ABSOLUTELY true.

What Ritta doesn’t make clear in her story is the female witness that was following her around trying to get her assistance. She mentions her briefly in the paragraph where she addresses the store managers. The woman is a juvenile delinquent parole officer.

This woman did not have anything in her possession to help Ritta (so she thought), such as a cell phone, but she heard Ritta frantically asking for help. She proceeded to follow Ritta into the store and was a witness to both of the cashier instances. The woman also placed her 3 year old grandson through the broken rear window to unlock the door (which he did promptly after patting the baby’s head).

Upon her suggestion, they DID call the police. When the officer arrived, he informed them that he could not write a report because it’s not a (legal) crime to neglect to help someone. He did suggest that she contact a lawyer.

As for the issue about the ambulance, one was never called for Ritta. The main road that WALMART sits off of is Beal Parkway. It is one of the major roadway arteries in our town. Emergency vehicles pass by there every several times a day. The sirens that were heard from the store were NOT associated with her emergency. I agree with Patrick’s statement of it being highly unlikely that an emergency vehicle would spot them. There is an AutoZone at the end of the parking lot that blocks most of the view.

After Ritta returned home, she called me and told me what happened. I told her to contact the North West Florida Daily News, which she did. The individual who answered the phone (after hours Friday) asked her to return to WALMART and take pictures of her van in the previous parking spot. My husband and I went with Ritta back to WALMRT. We took pictures of her van in the exact parking spot the incident happened. At the present time, we are waiting for the news crew to schedule a time to come out and hear her story.

As for credibility, I understand the public’s concern of a scam. Remember that the female witness is a juvenile delinquent parole officer. A friend of mine, a retired United States Air Force Master (USAF) Sergeant, happened to be walking by her van when she was inside talking to the managers. He did not know at that time that it was Ritta’s van (He found out later when I called him for advice about her situation). There were a few WALMART employees sweeping up the glass. He overheard a mumbled remark about it, “not being their problem.”

I am prior service USAF Staff Sergeant. I have chosen not to list the names of the individuals because of the pending story. I hope this helps her cause. Thank you for your time-


Kathryn H.


Correction: Boiled Walmart Baby
Baby Nearly Killed By Walmart’s Indifference

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.