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Dad gets bond in child cruelty case, cops say he left baby in hot car while he saw probation officer

Police said he left baby in hot car

Courtney Lamont Kidd is directed to a seat in Clayton County Magistrate Court Tuesday morning for his first appearance hearing. (Staff Photo: Kathy Jefcoats)

Courtney Lamont Kidd is directed to a seat in Clayton County Magistrate Court Tuesday morning for his first appearance hearing. (Staff Photo: Kathy Jefcoats)

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Clayton County Chief Magistrate Judge Wanda Dallas advises suspects of their rights during a first appearance hearing Tuesday morning. (Staff Photo: Kathy Jefcoats)

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Courtney Lamont Kidd listens to instructions from Clayton County Chief Magistrate Judge Wanda Dallas during his first appearance hearing Tuesday morning. Dallas advised Kidd of his rights and set a $20,000 bond on a child cruelty charge. (Staff Photo: Kathy Jefcoats)

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Courtney Lamont Kidd signs documents related to his child cruelty charge during his first appearance hearing Tuesday morning in Clayton County Magistrate Court. (Staff Photo: Kathy Jefcoats)

JONESBORO — Clayton County Chief Magistrate Judge Wanda Dallas set a $20,000 bond for a Forest Park dad charged with leaving his infant daughter in the car in the courthouse parking lot while he reported to his probation officer Monday morning.

Courtney Lamont Kidd, 37, responded to information provided by Dallas but didn’t make a statement in court Tuesday morning during his first appearance hearing. His preliminary hearing has been set for July 24. Dallas told him if he is released on bond, he is to have no contact with the baby. He is charged with one count of child cruelty.

Kidd was arrested Monday after witnesses reported seeing him walk away from the car, leaving the baby unattended in the parking lot of Clayton County Courthouse. A woman reportedly told police she tried to get Kidd to return after she noticed the baby but he ignored her and walked into the building.

The woman reportedly removed the baby to cool off in her own car and waited for the man to return. When he didn’t do so within minutes, the woman walked the baby into the courthouse atrium where she was cared for by security officers. When Kidd came downstairs to exit, he walked toward the baby as if to retrieve her, said witnesses.

Instead, deputies arrested him.

Kidd is a convicted felon who has been in and out of state prison three times since 2003, according to Georgia Department of Corrections records. He was most recently released in 2009.

According to Clayton County court records, Kidd’s previous convictions include pandering, riding a bicycle without lights, violating the leash law, selling or possessing drugs, obstructing an officer, loitering, trespassing, owning nuisance animals and violating traffic laws.

Records show he is serving misdemeanor probation for an April conviction in Clayton County State Court for speeding in a school zone, driving with an expired tag and making an improper turn.

Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill issued a public service announcement this year when temperatures warmed up, offering safety tips to prevent kids from being left in hot cars.

Hill said that since 1998, at least 532 children have died in the United States from being left in a hot car. Half of these children were forgotten by a parent or other caregiver, and nearly 20 percent died when parents knowingly left their child in a vehicle. The rest died playing in an unattended vehicle. “All of these tragic deaths are preventable,” he said. “Remember to check for small children in a car seat and to never leave children unattended in a vehicle — even for a few moments. Remember that pets should also never be left in a vehicle during the summer months.”

The safety tips advised the public to never leave a child unattended in a vehicle, call 911 immediately if a child is spotted alone inside a car, make sure all occupants exit a car, don’t overlook sleeping babies, make sure kids don’t have unsupervised access to a vehicle and teach children that cars are not to be played in.

Hill suggested “reminders” to help adults remember to get all kids out of the car, including keeping a stuffed animal in the car seat and moving it to the front seat when a child is secured, placing a purse or briefcase in the backseat with the child, routinely checking the car for kids when exiting and requiring the child’s school or caregiver make a call if the child doesn’t show when expected.

The news of a 22-month-old Cobb County boy who died last month after being left for seven hours inside his father’s car has drawn national attention and spotlighted the importance of not leaving kids in vehicles. Dad Ross Harris, 33, has been charged with murder in the toddler’s death.