Chiengkham Vilaysane, 31. Photo: Riverside Police Department
Chiengkham Vilaysane, 31. Photo: Riverside Police Department

A possibly mentally ill mother accused of abandoning her 2-year-old daughter at a supermarket will be back in court Monday after she was charged with desertion of a child under 14 years old and child endangerment.

Chiengkham Vilaysane, 31, was arrested Tuesday following an investigation that began Sunday night.

Vilaysane made her initial court appearance Thursday before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Samuel Diaz, who appointed her a public defender and scheduled her arraignment on the felony and misdemeanor charges for Monday at the Riverside Hall of Justice.

Vilaysane’s family members told reporters that she suffers from a mental illness and has generally been a good mother to her daughter.

The defendant has no prior documented felony or misdemeanor convictions.

Vilaysane is being held in lieu of $10,000 bail at the Robert Presley Detention Center in downtown Riverside.

Vilaysane’s daughter, whose name was not released, is in the care of Riverside County Child Protective Services.

The child was left in the Food-4-Less at 4250 Van Buren Blvd. around 5:55 p.m. Sunday after the defendant paid for her groceries, according to police.

Vilaysane entered the store with the toddler in tow, and as the woman began shopping, the girl wandered off, investigators said. The defendant never attempted to determine the child’s whereabouts and continued shopping, according to police.

As Vilaysane was preparing to check out, a good Samaritan brought the child to her, and the mother allegedly responded, “Oh, just leave her,” before walking out of the store, police said.

“It appears the toddler was intentionally left in the store by the mother,” according to a police statement. “The small child was able to identify the woman as her `mommy’ when she was shown a photo from the surveillance footage.”

The girl was never reported missing.

Vilaysane’s image was broadcast on television and posted on social networking sites. According to Detective Paul Miranda, about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, a teller at a bank in the 10300 block of Magnolia Avenue recognized Vilaysane while she was transacting business and contacted the police. Officers arrived a short time later and arrested the defendant without incident.

–City News Service

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