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Charleston infant OK after frantic, hour-long search

Charleston Daily Mail photo by Tom Hindman Chris Linville is accused of stealing a vehicle with a child in the backseat.
Charleston Daily Mail photo by Tom Hindman
Chris Linville is accused of stealing a vehicle with a child in the backseat.

From staff reports

Charleston Daily Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Like a scene out of a television show, a Charleston woman went into a convenience store for only a few moments and left her car running to keep her 9-month-old baby warm.

When she came out the car was gone. And so was her infant son.

“It’s the most terrifying thing that’s ever happened to me in my life,” said Charleston resident Emily Mottesheard, the child’s mother. “Scariest thing I’ve ever experienced. Hands down.”

Mottesheard, 32, stopped Monday afternoon at the Washington Street East Exxon One Stop to buy a pack of cigarettes for her husband, Charles Matheny, who is trying to quit smoking, she said.

She takes her 9-month-old son, Evan, to work with her at UE Local 170 where she’s an office manager. Fearing the cold temperatures would keep her at home Tuesday, she finished up her work early and grabbed what she could so that she could work from home.

She then bundled Evan up and got him to the car so that they could run a few errands before heading home. She hit Wendy’s drive-through first to grab dinner and then stopped for the cigarettes and gas, as the gas gauge was hovering on empty.

None of the pumps were open and only one spot, in front of the store’s windows, was open. She pulled in and made the decision to leave Evan bundled up in her white Saturn sedan with the engine running and the heat on.

“I figured, ‘well, I’ll just go in, grab my husband’s pack real quick and get back out and head out,'” Mottesheard said. “The wind had been blowing really hard and there was a negative wind chill earlier. I didn’t want to pull him out and expose him to that to go into the store for something small.”

Temperatures were well below freezing Monday and continued to descend into the single digits. Charleston detectives noted in a criminal complaint that it was about 9 degrees with a wind chill of minus 8.

She said she is a regular customer at the One Stop and felt that it was the safest option in that area. There were a lot of people at the store that afternoon as well, she said.

The clerks recognized her as she entered the store and pulled the cigarettes off the rack before she even got to the register. Mottesheard had exact change, making the transaction go even faster.

But when she turned to hurry out, she saw her car was gone…

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