Mom handcuffed after leaving kids in hot car

LA MESA, Calif. - A woman was placed in handcuffs Thursday afternoon after she was accused of leaving her two young children in a hot car as she shopped.

According to authorities, the woman, identified as Monica Yang, left her kids -- a 4-year-old and a 9-month-old -- in her car while she shopped at a CVS Pharmacy and Dollar Store in La Mesa.

Yang's fiance, Merrick Bighames, told 10News his kids were doing OK and he also defended her actions.

"She's a great mother … she doesn't go out, she doesn't party; she gives everything up for her children … They were both asleep in the car. I'm sure trying to lug a really big 9-month-old and a 4-year-old while they're both asleep is difficult. She meant to run into the store quickly and come out, but unfortunately she was in there for too long," Bighames said.

According to the National Safety Council, children overheat three to five times faster than adults. Experts say a vehicle can reach life-threatening temperatures within minutes.

In 2013, 43 children in the U.S. died from heatstroke after being left in vehicles.

Lola, a store employee, was parked next to the woman's car, and she told 10News, "She was sitting on the curb over there, they [police] had her... this sounds bad but I hope they did take her away."

Marco Casalines, a father of four, said, "That's just disgusting. I mean, even the dog in the car is bad, but a kid is just … why do you have kids?"

Yang's children were taken to the hospital as a precaution.

There is no word on if she has been officially charged.

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