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Not guilty plea from mother accused of leaving baby in hot car while she shopped

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CHULA VISTA (CNS) - A woman accused of leaving her 4-month-old daughter in a hot car while she shopped in a National City clothing store pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a felony charge of child endangerment causing great bodily injury.

Starley Cristal Geart, 25, who remains out of custody after posting $100,000 bail last week, faces 12 years in state prison if convicted.

A maintenance worker and a customer of the clothing store on East Plaza Boulevard reported seeing an infant strapped in a child seat in the back of a parked sedan with its windows rolled up and doors locked shortly after 3 p.m. on July 24, according to Sgt. Julian Villagomez.

Police and paramedics were called and found the baby unresponsive and "sweating profusely" inside the vehicle and forced entry to get her out, Villagomez said.

Paramedics were able to revive the infant, who apparently had been locked in the vehicle for about 10 minutes, according to Villagomez. She was taken to Children's Hospital in San Diego, where she was treated, evaluated and released into protective custody.

The temperature inside the car was estimated to be 140 degrees, said Deputy District Attorney Harrison Kennedy.

Geart told police that her sister was supposed to watch the child, but officers found that to be untrue, Kennedy said.

South Bay Judge Katherine Bacal today ordered Geart not to have contact with her daughter unless a dependency court approves supervised visits, Kennedy said.

A readiness conference was set for Aug. 9 and a preliminary hearing for Aug. 14.

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