A woman is in custody and under investigation for child abuse after authorities say she left three children alone in three different places on Monday and took off.
According to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, the woman, whose name has not been released, dropped off an 8-year-old child at an undisclosed location, then left a 3-year-old child in West Palm Beach, and finally, left a 1-year-old alone inside a car on Palm Beach.
A spokesperson for PBSO said the woman walked away and was taken into custody a short time later.
Detectives are now questioning her as part of a child abuse investigation.
"As soon as I heard it crying, I was like, thank god," said witness Jill Slack.
Watching in disbelief as police officers pulled the 1-year-old out of the car, Slack's heart dropped.
"Motherly instincts kick in and I just wanted to run down there, but of course you couldn’t," Slack said. "How can anyone treat children that way?"
The sheriff's office said it's believed the woman is not the mother of any of the children. However, her exact relationship to them is unclear.
The three kids are now in the custody of the Department of Children and Families and are not hurt, authorities said.
A PBSO spokesperson added that mental illness appears to be a component in the case.
A WPTV viewer sent our news team photos of a large law enforcement presence on Monday morning in the area of Sunrise Avenue and North Ocean Boulevard on Palm Beach.
Palm Beach police, West Palm Beach police, and Palm Beach County deputies were all involved in the investigation.
No other details have been released.
This is a breaking news story and will be updated.