JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The mother of a 15-month-old girl found stuffed in a gym bag in the back seat of a locked car was arrested last week.
Jacksonville police said 21-year-old Leendra Dasher reported her daughter missing from her apartment.
Police said they found the child asleep in a white Puma gym bag that was 18 inches long, 10 inches deep and made from a nylon material lined by a plastic liner.
When the officer who found the child went back inside and told Dasher he found her baby, she appeared "very calm," according to the report.
Dasher told investigators her daughter was last seen about 11 p.m. when she put her in her crib for the night, according to a police report. She said no one had had contact with the girl since 3 p.m. that day besides her, according to the report.
Dasher said she is a light sleeper and had not been awakened during the night, according to police.
Officers said the apartment where the mother and daughter live has two locks on its only door, and both were locked after Dasher's grandparents left at about 3 p.m. Police said one of the locks is only accessible from within the apartment.
Dasher denied placing the girl in the bag and back seat of the vehicle, and she denied knowing of anyone else who did so, according to the report.
Police said that because no one else had contact with the child or had access to the locked apartment, and because the child could have suffocated, the girl's mother was arrested and booked into jail on charges of aggravated child abuse.
"I don't know what to say. I'm speechless," a friend of Dasher's said when she found out about the arrest. "She didn't have a reaction? What do you mean? Is this the same person? I don't know.
"She wouldn't harm her baby like that. She wouldn't do that," the friend said.
The child is OK and is being cared for by relatives.
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