The young mother whose car was allegedly taken while her kid was still inside has spoken out about her ordeal, admitting she shouldn’t have left him in there.
Erika Carter, an Adelaide mother, left the car running in Klemzig on Monday morning when she went into a deli to buy a loaf of bread with her four-month-old son Jordan napping in the back seat.
The heartbroken mother was caught on camera sprinting into the carpark seconds later as the alleged thief reversed out and raced away in the vehicle.
Jordan was still inside her car, crying but unharmed, when it was discovered abandoned two hours later.
Three days after living through every parent’s worst nightmare, Ms Carter regrets leaving Jordan alone in the car.
‘I went for a quick trip to get a loaf of bread and made the wrong decision to leave bubs for that split second,’ she told 7News.
‘As I was paying for my bread, I heard my car rev and my heart just sunk.
‘I sprinted out after my baby boy and tried my best to get in front, but I couldn’t get to him, I was just yelling, ‘my baby, my baby Jordan’ and off he went.’
‘I thought the worst.’
Ms Cater raced back into deli to call tripe-0, sparking a massive police search across Adelaide.
She described the next two hours as the worst of her life before being faced with the unthinkable when she was told her Honda Jazz had been found.
‘There was that question of we’ve found the car and we know the baby’s in there but is he alive or is he dead,’ she said.
‘As a young prem baby, his lungs are still growing, he’s still developing his voice. He doesn’t know what’s going on.’
Ms Carter will never forget the overwhelming relief of being reunited with her little boy.
‘I just ran to him, took him into my arms, I was just so grateful that he wasn’t harmed,’ she said.
‘So lucky, so lucky.’
‘Now I want to him cry because that’s my baby boy’s cry.’
It remains unkown how long Jordan was left in the car abandoned in Enfield, four kilometres from where he was allegedly abducted.
‘It could have been two hours Jordan was by himself in the cold, which is devastating to think about,’ relieved dad Mitch McKay said.
A Para Hills man, 37, was arrested at a home in the Adelaide CBD on Monday night and was later charged with a string of offences.
Ilias Sammy Latsis pleaded guilty to stealing the car and abduction when he faced court on Tuesday but did not enter a plea for acts to harm.
His lawyer said Latsis wanted to tell the court ‘his profound remorse for the angst that he caused to the young baby’s mother, hence the early plea of guilty to that’, the Adelaide Advertiser reported.
Latsis didn’t apply for bail and will remain behind bars until his next court appearance in June.
Outside court, Mr Ey said his client was ‘very remorseful and upset’ about what happened.
When asked if he knew a baby was in the car, Mr Ey said: ‘No. And that’s why he panicked’.
Ms Carter didn’t accept his apology.
‘He’s not sorry,’ she said.
‘Why didn’t you call the police when you saw (the baby)? I’m just so grateful (Jordan) didn’t know what was happening.’
CCTV from the harrowing incident shows Ms Carter getting out of the car to duck into the shop.
Seconds later, a man pulls up alongside the Honda Jazz in a black Mazda BT-50 police allege was stolen from Black Forest earlier on Monday morning.
CCTV shows the man looking through the rear window of the Honda Jazz and realises the motor is still running with no one behind the wheel.
He returns to the Mazda to retrieve a backpack before jumping into Honda Jazz and reverses out.
A frantic Mc Carter races into the carpark and jumps in front of the car, screaming at the alleged thief to stop as he speeds away.
The distraught mum raced back into the shop to raise the alarm and was later seen being consoled by police as an urgent manhunt was launched.
Police believe the alleged incident was an opportunistic theft.
‘It’s probably the greatest amount of distress to any parent to see this happen. It is a reminder to any parent – be careful,’ Chief Inspector Matthew Nairn said.
‘I don’t believe the mother has done anything wrong … we’re not apportioning any blame to the mum at all.’