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Phoenix, AZ — The Gilbert mother who forgot her baby in a shopping cart in front of a grocery store this week is breaking her silence.
"I'm a good mom who made a horrible mistake," she says.
In a tearful interview, 27-year-old Cherish Peterson acknowledges she made a terrible mistake while rushing in and out of a Fry's grocery store on Monday to buy some candy for a nephew's birthday.
On that day, Cherish was with three of her four small children when she inadvertently forgot her 2-month-old baby boy in the shopping cart in front of the store.
"I got into my car, and normally I put my cart away," says Peterson. "But I didn't need to because I parked at the front of the store and I never park there. And I drove away."
The baby was spotted almost immediately by an off-duty Phoenix police officer, who took the infant into a nearby Supercuts salon.
Fortunately, the boy was not injured and he is doing fine.
But in the days that followed, Peterson faced a blast of criticism on social media, as people called her a drug addict and a terrible mom.
But Gilbert police say Peterson returned to look for her baby within 40 minutes when she realized her mistake.
"As I was pulling into the garage, my 3-year-old goes, where's baby Huxton?'" Peterson says. "His car seat is right behind me. I turned around and realized it was gone."
"It was still a long time," Peterson admits. "It was still 40 minutes. It was not two hours. And I never took my other kids out of the car, so it wasn't like I knew I left him. I thought the whole time he was in my car."
As I was pulling into the garage, my 3-year-old goes, where's baby Huxton?' His car seat is right behind me. I turned around and realized it was gone.
"I married the best, in terms of the mother and wife Cherish is to me and our children," says her husband Nathan Peterson, coming to his wife's defense. "A mistake was made, and we learned, but we're not perfect. We're not perfect. But we love our family and we love our children and we are grateful that everything is OK."
After initially indicating no charges would be filed against Peterson, Gilbert police have now forwarded a misdemeanor charge of child endangerment to the town prosecutor.
The Petersons contend it was a mistake that they will agonize over the rest of their lives.
"It's hard when you can't shield your beloved wife and family from hateful and judgmental things," says Nathan Peterson.
"There is nothing I love more in this world than being a mom," says Cherish Peterson. "And there is no one in this world who could love my kids more than me."
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