Riverside mother charged with abandoning 2-year-old daughter in a grocery store

A Riverside woman was charged with child abandonment Thursday after she left her 2-year-old daughter in a grocery store over the weekend, officials said.

Chiengkham Vilaysane, 31, faces a felony count of child abandonment and a misdemeanor count of child endangerment, said John Hall, a spokesman for the Riverside County district attorney’s office. She is expected to be arraigned Monday in Riverside, he said.

According to police, Vilaysane walked into a Food 4 Less supermarket Sunday night in the 4000 block of Van Buren Boulevard with her daughter by her side.

At some point, the girl wandered off. Vilaysane continued shopping and never searched for her, Riverside Police Det. Paul Miranda said.

A good Samaritan spotted the girl and presented her to Vilaysane, who responded, “Oh, just leave her,” police said.


Vilaysane then paid for her groceries and intentionally left the store without her daughter, police said. She never reported the girl missing, Miranda said.

When police showed the girl a photograph from surveillance camera footage, she identified Vilaysane as “Mommy,” he said.

The girl is in the custody of Riverside County’s Children’s Services Division. She appeared to be in good health and showed no obvious signs of trauma, Miranda said.

Police released surveillance video Monday showing Vilaysane and the girl walking through the grocery store. Detectives were hoping the public would help them find Vilaysane.

The following evening, Vilaysane walked into a bank in Riverside in the 10300 block of Magnolia Avenue and was recognized by the teller from news reports. The teller notified police, and Vilaysane was arrested.

Vilaysane has another child, who is safe and being cared for by relatives, police said. According to Miranda, Vilaysane recently was kicked out of her family home.

Vilaysane has had run-ins before with law enforcement for drug- and alcohol-related offenses and previously has been placed on a 72-hour psychiatric hold, Miranda said.

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2:45 p.m.: This article was updated with information about Chiengkham Vilaysane’s arraignment.

This article was originally published at 12:35 p.m.