The woman who police believe abandoned her 2-year-old daughter on Sunday at a Riverside supermarket in California– and said “Oh, just leave her,” when a bystander tried to reunite them – has outraged the local community and drawn national attention. The woman, 31 year old Chiengkham Vilaysane has been identified and arrested.
The intense scrutiny following the Riverside Police Department’s release of surveillance video from the store helped generate tips that led police to identify and then locate the suspect. Vilaysane was
taken in for questioning, then booked into jail about 8 p.m. on Tuesday.
Television news trucks, both English- and Spanish-language, spent much of Tuesday camped outside the supermarket, talking to customers, and a nearby police station, hoping to catch her as she was arrested.
On Facebook, social media users who found accounts under the suspect’s name filled the pages with vitriolic comments. Many of them are unprintable. Many did not assume, as the legal system does, innocence until guilt is proved. The kinder comments hoped the woman would get mental-health assistance if she did what she is accused of. Police released surveillance video Monday from the Food 4 Less at 4250 Van Buren Blvd., where the girl was left Sunday evening.
Officer Ryan Railsback said tips from the public helped them identify Vilaysane by Tuesday morning.
“We are 100 percent confident that this girl is the one who was on the video,” he said. Later, someone spotted Vilaysane at a Chase bank and alerted police, who took her into custody, Railsback said.Vilaysane was cooperating with the investigation and was expected to be booked on felony charges of child endangerment and child abandonment, Riverside police Detective Paul Miranda said. Police released her photo and name in an effort to find her several hours before she was detained.
Miranda said family members told investigators Vilaysane was recently kicked out of her home because she had problems with drugs and alcohol abuse, as well as mental issues.
Police said Vilaysane has an older child who lives with her father, who is also the father of the toddler. Vilaysane may have had past contact with county child protective services and police at her last known address in Riverside, according to Riverside police spokesman Officer Ryan Railsback.