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Arrested mom doesn't remember leaving kids in car

7:04 PM, Feb 1, 2012   |    comments
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Hatfield says she has no idea how she ended up at National Jewish Hospital on Saturday night after leaving her children in a car, along with her car keys, cellphone and wallet, at a Thornton gas station for at least two hours.

A witness told police he saw Hatfield's van at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Western gas station in Thornton. Her children, Jamie and Jerry, were found safe in the van at 3:30 p.m. when a worker from the gas station went to check the vehicle.

"One minute I was waiting to get gas, and the next minute I was gone," Hatfield said.

Police began looking for Hatfield as a missing person. She told 9NEWS on Wednesday the next thing she remembered was seeing National Jewish Hospital close to midnight.

"It was dark, and I was walking down the street," Hatfield said. "I had no idea where I was, I didn't know how I got there. I was freaked out."

She says she spoke to a guard in a research building at the hospital who let her use his cellphone to call her husband, Matt. He then called police to let them know his missing wife had been found.

Based on how dehydrated and sore Hatfield was when she got to National Jewish, they believe she walked to Colorado Boulevard and Colfax Avenue from the gas station, which is near 92nd Avenue and Huron Street in Thornton.

"I hurt. My head hurt. My hips. My whole body just hurt," she said. "I wanted help to know what was going on. 'Were the kids OK? What happened? Why am I here? What's going on?'"

The officer who arrested her on child abuse charges told Hatfield her children were safe.

"My kids are my life, my family is my life. I would never hurt my kids. There is not one thing I wouldn't do for them," she said. "All I knew is they were OK, but what happened to them?"

Hatfield says she was later told her oldest son , 4-year-old Jamie, kept 2-year-old Jerry in his car seat while they waited. She was able to speak to her children on Monday by phone.

Her son Jamie kept telling his mother that she "lost him."

"Saying it over and over, 'Mommy, you lost me,'" she said. "It's the only way he can understand that I wasn't there."

Her kids are with a family member. Hatfield says Child Protective Services are allowing her to visit them for the first time since the incident on Wednesday afternoon. She has been staying with her in-laws in Johnstown since the incident. She says this is the longest she has gone without seeing her boys, but she understands why authorities have to keep them apart.

"I need to let them take care of the investigation," Hatfield said. "I'm with them every day. It's just hard."

Doctors are still unsure what caused Hatfield to blackout. Doctors at Denver Health Medical Center say there were no drugs or alcohol in her system when she was arrested, and Hatfield says she has never done drugs in her life. She has been told it could be transient-global amnesia, a partial seizure, a type of amnesia associated with migraines, or a psychotic break.

Hatfield says a psychiatrist says she does not suffer from any mental illnesses, and she is now on medication for migraines.

"It's scary. That's the biggest thing. It's just, we don't know 100 percent, they can't 100 percent prove what it was," she said. "We'll never know, because there's no proof-positive test.

9NEWS Health Reporter Dr. John Torres says transient-global amnesia is a rare condition that often occurs without prior warning. The person suffering from it will suddenly find themselves in a strange place with no idea of how they got there or even what they were doing before it happened. During the episode, the person involved will usually remember who they are and who the people around them are; they just can't remember much else. Usually no exact cause can be found afterwards, and medical examinations and imaging techniques, like CT scans or MRIs, don't reveal any abnormalities.

Dr. John says transient-global amnesia will often be linked to a history of migraines and even excessive stress in the affected person's life at the time of the incident. He says aside from the loss of a few hours of memory and the emotions involved with that, this type of temporary amnesia goes away on its own. There are no after effects and having one doesn't necessarily mean a person will be more likely to have another one, especially if they work to get their migraines under control.

Hatfield told 9NEWS she has been having migraines since December, but they have gotten much worse over the past few weeks. She lost her health insurance in November and has been treating her headaches with over-the-counter migraine medicine.

The new migraine medication is working, Hatfield says.

"I hope this doesn't happen to someone else. It's scary," she said. "I'm a normal person, I love my kids, I'm a family person - my kids are my life. This could happen to anybody. I was just running errands."

(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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