How would you react if you saw a man scolding a small child and locking him in the trunk of a car as punishment?
On September 2, people in the Panera Bread parking lot in Norridge, Illinois, were put in the position of learning how they would respond when they saw a 3-year-old in that predicament.
Boguslaw Matlak, his wife Laura Quijano, their child, and a friend of theirs drove to the Panera Bread together in an Audi. While Matlak and his son were outside of the vehicle people said that they saw him stuff the boy into the trunk before yelling at him, closing it, and driving off.
Three people who saw the incident take place notified the Norridge police to report it and supplied the license plate number of the vehicle, adding that they were scared for the child due to the high temperature that afternoon.
Matlak returned to the Panera Bread within the hour and the car, in addition to Matlak, was identified as the suspect and vehicle involved in the reported event.
Police approached and began questioning Matlak who said that the entire situation was a misunderstanding. He said the back seat of the car was put in the down position and his wife was inside of the vehicle receiving their son as he placed the child inside of the trunk, but he was taken into custody.
Quijano was highly upset about the arrest, and while being questioned by the police she explained that they had preplanned and filmed the entire thing in order to perform a social experiment and raise awareness of the way the public often ignores situations that should be reported to the authorities. She insisted that they are good parents.
28-year-old Matlak and the friend that was in the car when the incident took place both gave statements similar to what Quijano said happened.
Matlak was charged with a misdemeanor count of child endangerment.
The boy, who the police reported was “fine and unharmed,” was removed from the custody of his parents and is staying with family members after DCF learned of the situation. While Matlak and Quijano can spend time with their son they have been legally ordered against inhabiting the same dwelling as him during the investigation.
In regards to the allegations Matlak, who is scheduled for a court appearance on Friday, stated, “The whole reason was for a good purpose, but now it seems like I’m a very bad guy,” and that he wanted to spread the message that people should never ignore a situation such as this.
If you or someone you love is suspected of child endangerment, contact Orange County criminal defense lawyer Staycie R. Sena at (949) 477-8088 for a consultation now.