On July 21, 2021, at 3:00 p.m., the Kern County Sheriff’s Office received a report of two small juveniles left unattended inside of a running vehicle in the Food Maxx parking lot located at 6465 Niles St. By the time deputies arrived, the vehicle had fled, being driven by a female with the two juveniles. Deputies circulated the area, but they were unable to locate the vehicle.

Deputies spoke with witnesses at the scene, including one who filmed part of the incident and was told the mother had left the two juveniles in the running vehicle while she went inside to go shopping. At one point, one of the juveniles (three years old), exited the vehicle and walked into Food Maxx, looking for the female. The female took the juvenile back to the vehicle and went back into the store to finish shopping. When she later returned to the vehicle, a confrontation ensued with one of the witnesses. The female then got in the vehicle and drove out of the parking lot recklessly.

On July 22, 2021, deputies received a tip from Child Protective Services (CPS) that the vehicle was at America’s Best Value Inn, located in the 8200 block of E. Brundage Ln. Deputies responded there and located the vehicle involved in the incident. They were able to determine which room the owner of the vehicle was in and contacted Melissa Medel (38 years old). Medel was determined to be the female involved in the incident at Food Maxx. Deputies also located her two children, a three-year-old and a one-month-old, in the room.

Medel was arrested for felony child cruelty, along with several warrants. CPS placed the two children into protective custody. Medel was booked into the Central Receiving Facility. Additional charges related to the battery will be submitted to the District Attorney’s Office.
(via Kern County Sheriff’s Office)