An Austin woman surrendered to police Thursday after being charged with endangering the life of her child. Investigators the baby was left in a hot car and survived only because of three strangers who came to her rescue.
In the two years he's been a security guard, Marwan"Gilbert" Al Nuami says he has never been involved in a rescue. That all changed in the Mueller Development HEB parking lot August 14.
"I don't see myself a hero, just a man who was doing his job," said Al Nuami.
It was hot summer's day at 103 degrees when Al Nuami says a customer, Dennis Rodriguez, ran up to him and said a child had been left in a car.
"[I] had to act immediately. I had to do what I had to do," said Al Nuami.
According to court documents, the 10-month-old baby girl had been locked inside for almost 30 minutes. She was crying and soaked in sweat. It's believed the temperature inside the car was at 135 degrees. In a statement from Monica Brown, another customer who was trying to help, the baby "stopped crying, got a blank look on her face and then closed her eyes."
"I thought it was dead," said Al Nuami.
Police were on the way, but Al Nuami couldn't wait and tried to smash a side window with his fist.
"I punched it once, then the second one didn't work, and then I was you know what this one will work," said Al Nuami.
APD Det. Trent Watts says Al Nuami eventually broke through with a hammer provided by Rodriquez.
"And Mrs. Brown, before the glass was even falling, was into the window, she was charging the backseat of that car. Swiping that baby up and putting cold water on her, I don't know what y'all consider a hero, but Mrs. Brown is my Hero," said Det. Watts.
It's believed the temperature inside that car reached 135 degrees. The baby's body, according to Brown, was so hot it felt like she had been in an oven. But she was alive.
"It opened her eyes, and she started breathing a little bit, seconds, and I said oh my god that is something," said Al Nuami.
The mother, Debra Lynn Ary, has been charged with endangering a child. She turned herself into authorities on Thursday, which also happened to be her 28th birthday. She told investigators she didn't leave her baby on purpose.
"She did mention, that's what she did, she forgot," said Det. Watts.
The baby was taken to Dell Children's Hospital where doctors lowered her body temperature.
A spokesperson with Child Protective Services told FOX 7 the child has recovered, and while an investigation is underway the baby is not in state custody. Family members are caring for her. Three other siblings are also staying with family members.
"The message is, look in your back seat before you get out of your car," said Det. Watts.
The other lesson is to follow the example of this security guard and the two shoppers who saw something wrong and decided to act. APD plans to honor the three heroes during a ceremony on October 7.