Riverside Mother Appears in Court After 2-Year-Old Daughter Is Abandoned at Grocery Store

Arraignment was postponed Thursday for a mother who allegedly abandoned her 2-year-old daughter in a Riverside Food 4 Less.

Chiengkham Vilaysane is seen in court in Riverside on March 16, 2017. (Credit: KTLA)

Chiengkham Vilaysane, 31, has been charged with one felony count of child abandonment and one misdemeanor count of child endangerment, according to a spokesman for the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office. She appeared in court Thursday afternoon at the Riverside Hall of Justice, but her arraignment was rescheduled for Monday, March 20.

In court, a public defender for Vilaysane asked the judge that she be able to see mental health services.

Outside the courthouse, the father of Vilaysane’s older child said she had once been a responsible parent.

“At one point, everything was good. She was a good mother to her kids. She was there, she provided,” Daniel Siera said. “I don’t feel … she did this on purpose. It wasn’t intentional.”

Vilaysane was taken into custody Tuesday afternoon, a day after Riverside police released surveillance video showing a mother who had left her young daughter at a Food 4 Less in the 4250 Van Buren Blvd. on Sunday evening.

The little girl identified the woman in the video as her “mommy,” police said.

Chiengkham Vilaysane is seen being taken by Riverside police from the station to jail on March 14, 2017. (Credit: KTLA)

The child had wandered off from her mother and a good Samaritan brought the child back to the woman, who responded, “Oh, just leave her,” police said in a news release Monday.

Vilaysane was arrested after a bank teller recognized her from images released by police to news media.

A Riverside police detective said the suspect had recently been kicked out of her home because of mental health and addiction problems. Vilaysane has another child with the father of the toddler who was abandoned; that older child lives with the father, police said.

On Thursday, Siera identified himself to KTLA as the father only of Vilaysane’s oldest child.

“There is more (to) this than really what people see, and that’s something that only me and the family would know,” Siera said.

Standing alongside Siera, Vilaysane’s sister Amanda Salcido tearfully said she planned to take good care of the toddler.

“I hope that she gets the help that she needs,” Salcido said of her sister.

As a condition of bail for Vilaysane, she must not have any contact with her 2-year-old daughter, the judge ordered.