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Mother Charged with Leaving Child in Hot Car

DELAWARE TOWNSHIP, Pa. — A mother in Northumberland County is accused of leaving her child in her car for nearly six hours when it was 82 degrees outside....

DELAWARE TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- A mother in Northumberland County is accused of leaving her child in her car for nearly six hours when it was 82 degrees outside. She now faces assault charges.

Tonia Sones, 24, of Delaware Township, told state police she must have fallen asleep by accident back in June before leaving her 22-month-old daughter locked in the car with the windows up.

According to the young girl's father, as a result of that, the child now has brain injuries.

Annabelle Sawangjang was a happy and healthy 22-month-old girl from the Watsontown area who liked to eat ice cream and play with toys.

That all changed on the morning of June 1 when according to state police, Annabelle was left alone in a car for nearly six hours by her mother Tonia Sones.

According to court papers, Sones and her boyfriend had just gotten done working third shift and picked up Annabelle at Sones' mother's house.

Annabelle was sleeping in her car seat. Sones let Annabelle sleep and made sure all of the car windows were up and the doors were locked and then Sones got in the shower.

Sones told state police she must have fallen asleep by accident and woke up nearly six hours later. Annabelle was still in the car.

Investigators tell Newswatch 16 it was 82 degrees outside at that time and Annabelle's body temperature was 103 degrees.

Medical records show heat stroke with brain swelling and brain damage.

Annabelle now has a feeding tube. She has been at a hospital in Hershey since June 13.

Annabelle's father Pracolby Sawangjang now has full custody of Annabelle.

"I hear all the time people say about putting something in the back seat that's important to them. The child is the most important thing that could be in that car. There's no excuse for ever leaving a child in a car," Sawangjang said. "We're not sure how far she'll recover but there will be a lot of in-home therapy, doctor's appointments, and it could be long term."

Tonia Sones faces several charges, including aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of a child.

"I still feel that's not enough. That's my little girl, my pride and joy, my everything. I don't feel like anything could be enough," Sawangjang said.