Mom Accused of Abandoning Toddler at Food 4 Less to Be Released

A woman accused of abandoning her 2-year-old daughter at a Riverside supermarket may be released from jail on her own recognizance Tuesday, if her family agrees to let her stay with them.

Chiengkham Vilaysane, 31, of Riverside is charged with child desertion and child endangerment for allegedly leaving her daughter in a Food-4-Less at 4250 Van Buren Blvd on the afternoon of March 12.

Vilaysane was scheduled to be arraigned today before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Samuel Diaz, but the judge decided to postpone the hearing to Tuesday afternoon upon learning from the defense that the woman's relatives are willing to take her into their home.

Diaz said he would consider vacating the defendant's $10,000 bail requirement and letting her out of the Robert Presley Detention Center if he's assured she will not be turned out onto the streets.

Vilaysane's family is slated to attend the hearing. They told reporters last week that she suffers from a mental illness, has generally been a good mother to her daughter and needs help, not incarceration.

Her daughter is in the care of county Child Protective Services. The child was left in the Food-4-Less around 5:55 p.m. after her mother paid for her groceries and walked out, according to police.

Vilaysane had entered the store with the toddler in tow, and as the woman began shopping, the girl wandered off, investigators said. The defendant allegedly made no effort to determine the child's whereabouts and continued shopping.

As Vilaysane was preparing to check out, a good Samaritan brought the child to her, and the mother allegedly responded, "Oh, just leave her,'' then left, police said.

"The small child was able to identify the woman as her 'mommy' when she was shown a photo from the surveillance footage,'' according to a police statement.

Vilaysane's image was broadcast via media outlets and posted all over social networking sites. About 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, a teller at a bank in the 10300 block of Magnolia Avenue recognized Vilaysane while she was transacting business and contacted police. Officers arrived a short time later and arrested the defendant without incident.

The defendant has no prior documented felony or misdemeanor convictions.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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