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CROWN POINT — A woman was arrested Thursday on allegations she was drunk outside a Gary liquor store with her 1-year-old child in a stroller.

Nicole E. Garcia, 36, of Gary, was charged Saturday in Lake Criminal Court with neglect of a dependent, a Level 6 felony.

Garcia has a prior conviction for child neglect, court records state.

Police officers were dispatched about 9 p.m. Thursday to East 11th Avenue and Broadway for reports a woman was walking a child in a stroller while intoxicated, court records state.

Police found a small child sitting in a stroller outside a liquor store in the 1100 block of Broadway. Garcia, the child's mother, exited the liquor store with a bottle containing a clear liquid and a unopened green can. Officers noted the woman appeared to have urinated on herself, records state.

A man told authorities he called 911 after Garcia showed up at a nearby park with her 1-year-old child. He said Garcia fell down while holding the child in her arms, and dropped the child's food. He and another friend offered to buy the child more food, but he said Garcia wanted the money for herself, records state.

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Garcia told authorities in an interview she was at the park for four or five hours with some old friends. She said she had a friend purchase her three tall cans of alcoholic lemonade while she was there, records state.

Garcia was previously charged in Lake Criminal Court with three counts of neglect of a dependent after her 6-month-old son was found April 22, 2002, suffering from multiple rat bites in a rodent-infested apartment.

Garcia pleaded guilty Sept. 27, 2002 to one count of neglect of a dependent, a Class D felony, and was sentenced to three years probation. She was sentenced in October 2004 to 14 months in Lake County Jail for violating her probation, records state.

Garcia's surety bond on the new charge is $10,000.

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Lake County Courts and Social Justice Reporter

Steve covers Lake County courts and social justice issues for The Times. The UW-Milwaukee graduate joined The Times in 2016 after reporting on criminal justice in New Mexico and Wisconsin.