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Mother Held After Toddler Found at Store

September 06, 1993|CHIP JOHNSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The mother of an 18-month-old girl found in a shopping cart at a West Hills mall was arrested on suspicion of child abandonment as she emerged from Sunday services at a Reseda church with another infant daughter, authorities said.

Hang Tran, 31, of Reseda was being held on $10,000 bail, Los Angeles Police Sgt. Dan Mastro said.

On Friday, employees of the Target discount store at the mall found Trinh Tran napping in a shopping cart in the hardware section about 11 a.m. Police began tracking down leads using business cards left with eight milk-filled baby bottles in a bag in the cart.

The business cards bore the name of a physician, who gave police an address in Reseda. After trying for two days, police went to the address Sunday and met a woman who identified Trinh from a newspaper photograph as her niece, Mastro said.

The woman then led police to the First Baptist Church of Reseda, where Tran was attending a Sunday service, Mastro said.

Tran's second child, 5-month-old Melissa, joined her sister at the Los Angeles County Department of Child Services, Mastro said. Melissa could be placed with relatives pending a background check, Mastro said; it was unclear what will happen to the older girl.

Police believe that Tran may have been living with relatives in Reseda in an attempt to hide from her recently divorced husband, Mastro said.

"I think this is a great thing that happened," said Mastro, referring to finding Tran. "If (Tran) needs help, she can get it, and her children will no longer be placed in danger."

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