Woman arrested after leaving young children alone in car while making donation

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The family of the woman who left her kids alone in the car while she was donating plasma is speaking out.

Bernice Rodriguez and her family have been struggling financially. They needed gas money so she went to donate plasma and figured her ten year old and one year old would be just fine waiting in her car.

"I just feel really sad," sobbed 10-year-old Jared St. John, Rodriguez’s son.

St. John hasn't seen his mom since she was arrested last week. Rodriguez went to donate plasma and left her ten year old and one year old in the car.

"She told me one day before she was trying to donate and so we can get some money for gas," said Rodriguez's dad, Jose.

Jose has been helping his daughter take care of his grandchildren for four years, because he says his daughter is mentally ill.

"Sometimes she takes the medication, and she does OK, and sometimes she doesn't take her medication and that's when she's not doing good," he added.

A police officer at the plasma center noticed two young kids alone in a car.

"He knocked, I rolled the window down and then he said ‘where's your mom’ and ‘what's your name,’" said St. John. "They waited for her after she was done donating, so then she came out and they were talking to her."

St. John witnessed his mom being taken away when police arrested her. She was later charged with two counts of child endangerment.

"I received a phone call from her saying ‘the police want to take the kids from me. I left them in the car, can you come over, can you hurry up and come over,’” said Jose.

Rodriguez left the car running, and her son says they were just fine.

"We were on the tablet and stuff, so we were sort of occupied," said St. John.

"She just thought that it was going to be quick," added Jose, who says his daughter knows she made a mistake, but never intended to hurt her kids, who are now having trouble coping with not having her around.

"I just want to see her again," said St. John sobbing.

Rodriguez is only allowed supervised contact with her children. Her court date is set for March 19.

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