Gardenia Zakrzewski Johansson, 39, who told police she is a Montessori schoolteacher, was arrested on suspicion of child neglect for leaving her 2-year-old son in the car to go buy a Christmas gift and pick up some cosmetics in Neiman Marcus, according to a police report released Tuesday.
The woman arrived about 3 p.m. Monday and asked valet Quest Wolfe to watch her 2002 BMW sedan, the report states.
Wolfe told police the woman mumbled something about a baby in the car, but said he initially assumed she was talking about a dog.
Fellow valet Tyler Gocken however, asked Zakrzewski Johansson if she said there was a baby in the car, and the woman responded: “Yes. Do you think it’s wrong?” the report states.
Gocken replied, “Yeah, I think it’s wrong.”
Zakrzewski Johansson then stated she would be quick, and told the valets “don’t tell anybody.”
That prompted Gocken to look inside the car, where he noticed through the dark-tinted windows the toddler sleeping in the backseat.
Wolfe, 29, told the Tribune Tuesday he has parked thousands of cars during his 4 1/2 years as a valet for the Epic Valet company, but the incident was like nothing he had ever seen.
The Valet, then called his mom to get some advice on what she would do. She told him it wasn’t right and he should call the police or security, which he did.
As the police arrived, Zakrzewski Johansson was leaving the mall, with dog in tow, after being inside the mall for approximately 30 minutes.
For some crazy reason, she didn’t know she had done anything wrong and asked police if she was in trouble.
The officer replied, “Yes.”
Zakrzewski Johansson could not be reached for comment but had told police that she asked a valet to “Please watch my son in the car” and he agreed.
While in the mall she picked up a gift, had it wrapped and then stopped by the cosmetics section to pick up eye makeup remover. This is when she ran into a friend and engaged in a brief conversation.
Obviously, still not concerned about the situation at hand and after being handcuffed and arrested, Zakrzewski Johansson asked the officer to retrieve a Christmas present that was being gift-wrapped in the store.
The toddler and the dog were turned over to Zakrzewski Johansson’s sister, who was contacted by police.
It shocks me to read these awful stories. The level of selfishness this women exudes is disgusting. Some parents see their children more as an inconvenience than a blessing. I hope Child Protective Services takes this baby away and places it with a family that knows the value of a life.