Mother gets diversion program in hot car case

5-year-old girl left in car at Costco earlier this month

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office booking photo of Vivian Guo
Jacksonville Sheriff's Office booking photo of Vivian Guo

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The case of a 49-year-old woman charged with child neglect after police said she left her 5-year-old daughter in a hot car has been adjudicated.

Vivian Guo's lawyer entered a written plea of not guilty, and her case was placed in the Kids in Distress Program diversion.

If Guo completes the program, the charge will be expunged from her record.

The State Attorney's Office said Guo qualified for the diversion program because she had no prior arrests and no prior contact with the Department of Children and Families.

Police said Guo left her daughter in the car in the parking lot of the Costco on Gate Parkway at the St. Johns Town Center earlier this month.

The store manager told police a customer reported a young girl was left in a car in the parking lot. According to the police report, that manager removed the girl from the car at about 1:45 p.m. because she had "sweat running down their face," but the child was otherwise unhurt.

Police said the manager tried to find the mother in the store prior to calling police, just before 2 p.m.

At about 2:30 p.m., Guo returned to her car. Police said she had left the windows of the vehicle barely cracked open to allow airflow.

Guo told police the girl didn't want to go into the store, and she thought it was OK to leave her in the car. Guo also told police her watch was not working and she didn't realize how long she was in the store.

Police said there was a large distance between the car and the front door of the store. The car was not visible from inside the building because the building has no windows on the side.