The family of a California woman who was accused of abandoning her toddler at a Food 4 Less store earlier this week is speaking out in her defense.
As KABC reports, Daniel Sierra, who is the woman’s ex-fiancé and father of her oldest daughter, said he was absolutely floored when he saw surveillance footage of Chiengkham Vilaysane leaving a Food 4 Less without her toddler daughter on Sunday night.
Vilaysane was arrested on Tuesday after the surveillance footage seemed to show her abandoning her daughter inside the store.
"She is a good mother to her kids. She was there, she provided. She was good," Sierra said. "Me and the family don't feel that she did this on purpose. It wasn't intentional."
Despite what many people may think about his ex-fiancé after seeing the surveillance footage, Sierra does not believe Vilaysane meant to leave her toddler behind.
In fact, according to Sierra, Vilaysane’s shocking actions can likely be blamed on a combination of mental illness and drug use.
He also revealed that Vilaysane’s family had actually notified Child Protective Services about her behavior prior to the incident, but nothing was done to stop her.
"This could have been avoided if CPS would have listened to me and others when we notified them," Sierra said. "The baby would have been safe and happy with her sister and was perfectly healthy while temporarily in my custody."
According to KABC, Vilaysane is now facing one charge of felony child abandonment, as well as a misdemeanor charge for child endangerment.
"Basically to have felony child endangerment, the child has to be in a situation where it could result in great bodily injury or death. In this case, the child was being supervised by adults in the store at the time," said John Hall, with the Riverside County District Attorney's Office.
Vilaysane’s sister, Amanda Salcido, said she will now be taking care of the little girl for the time being.
"I hope she gets the help that she needs and for her to be better, a better person after all of this," she said. "Her daughter will be in good hands. I will make sure of that."
Although Vilaysane has already had a court appearance, she has reportedly not entered a plea as of Friday morning.
If she is convicted of all the charges against her, Vilaysane could spend a maximum of three years behind bars.