Man Accused of Leaving Young Children in Hot Car Plead Not Guilty

May 16, 2008 8:42:57 PM PDT
The man accused of leaving his two young daughters in a hot car while gambling at Chukchansi casino pleaded not guilty to child cruelty charges.Fouchoy Saephan was escorted into this Madera County courtroom nearly three hours after his hearing was scheduled to start. The arraignment was delayed because Saephan requested an interpreter who speaks mien a rare Laotian dialect.

Shawn Huston/Deputy District Attny: "Because the translator requirement, it's interesting in this case, the language is rare, it does make it difficult for the people and for the defense to put on our case and prepare."

Once the hearing began, Saephan quickly pleaded not guilty to charges that include child cruelty and committing a felony while out on bail. Earlier this year he was charged in connection with a copper wire theft.

Investigators arrested him after finding evidence in a car that was destroyed by a train after being abandoned on the tracks.

Then on Monday, deputies arrested Saephan after a security guard at Chukchansi casino spotted his ten month old and two year old daughters in a car in the parking garage. Authorities say surveillance video from the casino shows the girls were left alone for nearly two hours. And investigators say they were showing early signs of heat exhaustion.

Shawn Huston: "We're going to review the video tape for the casino, and we're going to prepare our preliminary hearing for May 23rd."

But as the case against the 28 year old begins, a search is still underway for his 29 year old wife. Investigators say Ginnie Lee was also at the casino that night and believe she is now on the run. Deputies say she may be hiding in Fresno, Atwater, or Minnesota, where she's also wanted on a theft charge. A 100 thousand dollar warrant has been issued for Lee's arrest. Saephan is being held on a 130 thousand dollar bond.


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