Mom of toddler in motel parking lot enters plea

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FIFE, Wash. (AP) -- A 22-year-old Washington mother whose toddler was found wandering in the middle of the night in a motel parking lot has pleaded not guilty to child abandonment. Police say the woman was out gambling.

LaReina Larson cried during much of Tuesday's municipal court hearing in the Tacoma suburb of Fife, especially when the judge told her she could have no contact with her daughter unless approved by state Child Protective Services.

Public defender Thomas Guilfoil asked the judge to release Larson on her promise to return to court but he set bail at $1,000.

Seattle television station KOMO reports that police were called to a Fife motel about 2 a.m. Monday when the manager found the 3-year-old alone in the parking lot.

The mother and her boyfriend returned about 5:30 a.m. and said they had been at a casino, won a jackpot and lost track of time, according to police reports.