The trial of a Bed Bath & Beyond manager accused of refusing to help a Danville couple trying to call police about a child they found last summer locked in a hot van in the parking lot has been delayed.
Elizabeth A. Miller's trial was scheduled to begin Friday morning. Miller has been charged with failure to report dependency, neglect and abuse.
The delay comes two days after Miller's attorney, Jim Lowry, filed a motion challenging the charge. The motion, filed Wednesday, calls the law "vague, ambiguous and overbroad."
Miller was charged days after Randy and Nancy Belcher noticed a 3-year-old boy sleeping in a child seat in a locked Honda Odyssey van on Sept. 6 in the parking lot of the store on Nicholasville Road.
Police said the couple asked the store manager if they could use the store's public address system to alert the boy's mother. They told police that Miller refused to use the PA system or call police for help.
The couple later called police on their own, and a police officer broke the window and rescued the boy, who was not injured. The boy's mother was later indicted by a Fayette County grand jury on a charge of second-degree wanton endangerment, a misdemeanor.
In the motion, Lowry questions whether it is "reasonable to believe that a child locked in a car is being abused or neglected without personally seeing the child or the car."
"Is a child 'abused' or 'neglected' just because it is in the car?" he wrote. "If twenty people in a parking lot see a child in a car, do all twenty have a duty to report? If twenty people in Bed Bath & Beyond hear a stranger say that a baby is locked in a car, do they all have a duty to report?"
Before charging Miller last September, Assistant Fayette County Attorney Brian Mattone said that his office researched the failure-to-report law extensively.
Mattone said then that under the statute, everyone has the duty to report dependency, neglect and abuse of a child if they have knowledge of it.
Prosecutors thought that Miller, through witnesses, had knowledge of possible abuse or neglect. Moreover, he said, there is language in the statute stating that "nothing should relieve their obligation to report."
Mattone said other states have successfully prosecuted people for failing to act on information that a child was in danger. It's unclear whether a similar charge has been used in Kentucky.
A judge will hear the arguments April 10.