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‘Oh, just leave her’; Mother abandons 2-year-old in busy grocery store

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RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Police have identified a 31-year-old woman investigators believe to be the mother of a toddler who was abandoned at a grocery store, but they are still searching to find the woman.

The suspect was identified as Chiengkham Vilaysane, according to Riverside Police Department spokesman Officer Ryan Railsback.

The Riverside Police Department on Monday released video showing a woman apparently leaving a 2-year-old girl in a Food 4 Less, located at 4250 Van Buren Blvd., on Sunday evening. Investigators received tips about the woman’s identity following news media coverage of the child’s abandonment, Detective Paul Miranda said.

Riverside police released this photo a mother who allegedly abandoned her 2-year-old daughter at a Food 4 Less on Sunday, March 12, 2017.

The mother can be seen on surveillance video walking into the Food 4 Less with the toddler by her side on Sunday. While inside the store the girl wandered off. Police say the mother never tried to find the toddler and instead continued to shop.

"When the mother was shopping, a good Samaritan brought the child to her and the mother responded, 'Oh, just leave her,'" Officer Ryan Railsback said in a statement. "The mother deserted the toddler after she paid for the groceries."

Railsback said police believe the mother intentionally left the toddler at the store.

The 2-year-old girl was able to identify the woman as her "mommy," when she was shown a surveillance image, police said.

As of Monday evening, police said the toddler had still not been reported as missing.

The girl was placed in the custody of Child Protective Services.

The mother is described as about 20 to 30 years old with dark hair. She was last seen wearing a black or dark-colored tank-top shirt and denim shorts. Police said she has a distinctive tattoo on her right arm.

Anyone who recognizes the woman is urged to contact Detective Paul Miranda at 951-353-7945 or pmiranda@riversideca.gov.