Lufkin Police release name of baby left in car

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - By Whitney Grunder - email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A six-week-old girl has been treated and released from a Lufkin hospital after she was apparently left in a car at the Lufkin Wal-Mart parking lot.

According to Lufkin Police Det. J.B. Smith, the baby, Gracieann Michelle Riley, of Groveton, was unresponsive when it was pulled out of the car. She was released from the hospital to her mother at around 3 p.m.

Smith said initial reports indicate a customer found the baby in the back seat of a car at 11:54 a.m. and alerted Wal-Mart management. Management came out to the car and someone broke the window of the car and got the baby out.

"The actions that the citizens took on this, there's no doubt in my mind, saved this baby," said Corporal Wes Ross with the Lufkin Police Department.

Smith said it appears the grandfather, Lonny Ray Riley, 40, and his girlfriend, Pamela Ortega, 30, both of Groveton, who were babysitting the baby, left her in the car, but did not know if they did it intentionally or not.

"It's still under investigation. Best we can determine it's accidental. A grandfather that doesn't normally keep the child was babysitting and just didn't realize he had the child with him," said Ross.

Police interviewed the grandfather and his girlfriend and will meet with the Angelina County District Attorney's office next week to discuss the case.

Smith said the baby was alone in the car for about 45 minutes.

The incident occurs a month to the day after a baby died after the father left her in the parking lot of Story-Wright in Lufkin.

"It's hard on all of us. Most officers here are fathers, mothers, a lot are grandparents," said Ross. "People need to just slow down and realize what's going on around them."

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