Felon Accused of Stealing Vehicle with Toddler Inside Fails to Appear in Court

City News Service

(CNS) – A felon accused of stealing a vehicle with a toddler inside in Desert Hot Springs failed to appear in court Thursday and had a warrant issued for her arrest.

Yadira Dolores Flores, 33, of Desert Hot Springs, is charged with four felony counts, one each of kidnapping, willful child cruelty, vehicle theft, and receiving a stolen vehicle, according to court records. She also faces sentence-enhancing allegations of committing an auto theft with priors.

Flores was ordered to stand trial on the charges following a preliminary hearing on Oct. 15, 2021, when a Riverside County Superior Court judge found sufficient evidence for her to be held to answer.

Flores appeared at the Larson Justice Center re-entered not guilty pleas to the charges on Oct. 29, 2021, according to court records. On Thursday, she failed to appear to court and a bench warrant was issued.

During Flores’ preliminary hearing in October 2021, Officer Christopher Tooth of the Desert Hot Springs Police Department testified that, although Flores did not initially know a child was in the car when she stole it, she lacked any empathy for the child and told Tooth the child “wasn’t her responsibility.”

Prosecution attorney Garrett Behrens asserted that Flores knowing a child was in the vehicle and her choice to do nothing — knowing full well that the child, an infant, was too young to do anything about it — amounted to kidnapping.

Flores was arrested Oct. 12, 2020 at 1:15 a.m. in Cathedral City, about three hours after she allegedly stole the vehicle with the child inside, according to Desert Hot Springs police.

Police said the child’s mother reported her car was stolen from in front of a business in the 13700 block of Palm Drive at about 10:15 p.m. the day prior, and her child was inside. Several neighboring law enforcement agencies responded to assist in the search, and an Amber Alert was issued to find the child.

Three hours after the car was stolen, a pedestrian walking in the 67500 block of Ramon Road in Cathedral City saw a car parked in an open field matching the description of the vehicle in the Amber Alert. She approached and saw a child in the backseat and called 911, authorities said.

Cathedral City police officers patrolling the area of Sarah Street and Agua Caliente Trail saw a woman — later identified as Flores — matching the suspect’s description and took her into custody.

Copyright 2022, City News Service, Inc

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