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Harrisburg grandmother accused of leaving 3 children unattended in car while at dentist appointment

SPRINGETTSBURY TOWNSHIP — A 48-year-old Harrisburg woman has been charged with endangering the welfare of children and leaving children unattended in a vehicle after a June incident in which Springettsbury Township Police say she left her three grandchildren in her car while she went to a dentist appointment.

Marnella Witherspoon, of the 1500 block of State Street, was charged last month after the June 21 incident, which occurred at 4:14 p.m. on the 2300 block of East Market Street.

According to police, an employee at Edible Arrangements called authorities after seeing the children had been left alone in a black Ford Fusion. The witness told police one of the children was screaming inside the car.

The arriving officer noted that two of the children appeared to be 2-3 years old and the other was 6-7. The windows of their vehicle had been left down, the officer said in the criminal complaint, but there was no shade in the parking lot, and temperatures were in the 80s.

The oldest child told police they were left in the car by their grandmother, Witherspoon, who was at a dentist appointment in the shopping center where their car was parked.

Police located Witherspoon inside the dental office at about 4:34 p.m. She allegedly told police that her appointment was for 3 p.m., but the office was busy and could not take her right away. She told police she checked on the children three times while she was waiting to be seen by the dentist, but was unaware that police had been with the children since 4:23 p.m.

Police say the children appeared to be in good spirits and did not appear to be in need of medical attention.