David Farnham

A father who went to a midnight showing of "The Dark Knight" and left his 2-year-old son in the car was arrested early Sunday.

David Farnham, 23, went to the movie at Century 16 Theaters, 125 E. 3300 South, late Saturday night. About 1 a.m. Sunday, other moviegoers noticed a young boy who had been left in a car in the theater's parking lot for a long time, said South Salt Lake police detective Gary Keller.

Janica Nielsen was leaving the theater with her father when she noticed the child alone and sleeping in the car next to hers. At first, she thought the child was a doll.

"I had to take a second look," she said. "We couldn't believe someone would have their child in a car seat unattended like that."

When police arrived to investigate, they discovered the boy had been left alone in the car for more than two hours, Keller said.

"(The child) was terrified and crying," Nielsen said. "He was just soaking in sweat."

The boy was thirsty when officers arrived but otherwise unharmed, Keller said.

Nielsen said Monday that she was angry and struggling to make sense of the incident. "I could never imagine putting my child in danger like that," she said.

Farnham left the windows rolled up "so the child would not be taken out," according to a jail report. The temperature inside the car when the boy was removed was estimated to be 87 degrees, the report said.

The boy was turned over to the Christmas Box House and later released to his mother, Keller said. Farnham was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of second-degree felony child abuse.

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