Matthew Brown and Brittany Zanetti are charged with child abuse or neglect under six years old. (Photo Source: Shelby County Sheriff's Office)
The couple faced a judge on Monday morning. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)
SHELBY COUNTY, TN -
(WMC) - The parents of the 15-month-old child who was left in a car over the weekend pleaded not guilty to child abuse and child neglect charges on Monday.
After Brittany Zanetti and Matthew Brown faced a judge, their attorney wanted to make one thing clear.
"They are good people, good parents, and we're going to answer these charges," defense attorney Leslie Ballin said.
The couple is charged with child abuse and neglect after a Shelby County firefighter rescued the couple's 15-month-old daughter from inside a locked car in the Kroger parking lot on Houston Levee Road.
"I don't mean to belittle what the accusations are here. This was not intentional," Ballin said.
Investigators say the firefighter broke out a window to get inside the couple's Nissan Altima. The car was not running, the windows were rolled up, and the car was parked in direct sunlight, according to investigators.
Although the couple initially told officers they knowingly left the little girl unattended while they went shopping, the affidavit says they later described it as a "momentary lapse in judgment."
"As for as how that happened, that's certainly going to be answered in these charges. Why it happened ... it was unintentional," added Ballin.
WMC Action News 5's Justin Hanson went to the couple's Cordova home on Monday. A family member at the home said leaving the baby in the car was a mistake. Brittany Zanetti and Matthew Brown are set to appear back in court July 23. Meanwhile, the young girl is in her grandmother's custody.
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