A panicked mum rang 999 about her 'stolen' car – only to discover she had rolled into a river with her toddler inside it, an inquest has heard.
Kim Rowlands, 29, left her two-year-old daughter, Kiara Moore, alone in the Mini for only two minutes and one second, the hearing was told.
She said she nipped into her husband's work in West Wales to grab a £ 10 note after her bank card snapped, leaving Kiara in a car seat.
She left to the sound of "singing and shouting" – but when she came back out, the vehicle was no longer parked next to the riverside office.
Kim frantically alerted police about the missing silver Mini – but later discovered she had rolled into the waters with her little girl trapped in it.
The inquest heard how the car was caught on CCTV rolling backwards before it vanished from view and Kim emerged from the building.
The mum was speaking on the phone, it was said.
Kiara was recovered from the car in the River Teifi in Cardigan on March 19, just days before her third birthday.
Today's inquest heard how her body "floated out of the vehicle" and into an officer's arms after a baton was used to smash a window.
Police desperately performed CPR on the youngster, but her "head was rolling all around the place and her face was purple".
She was then flown to Cardiff's University Hospital Wales. Despite efforts to save her life, she sadly did not survive the tragedy.
Professor Stephen Leadbeatter carried out a post-mortem on the little girl and gave a cause of death of emersion.
The inquest heard he decided against the conclusion of drowning because Kiara had no control over what happened.
Kim told police how she had parked the Mini near her partner's outdoor pursuits business, Adventure Beyond, in Cardigan.
She said: "I work with the company and normally go there to work in the office. Since Kiara was a baby she has been coming with me to the office.
"On the day there was nothing unusual. I got up, called Kiara, and got her ready. She asked me what I was going to do.
"I said I was going to work and she asked if she could come with me.
"I parked on the slipway.
"Monday was only the second day I'd been there that year.
"I checked the handbrake which I always do. I left it in reverse.
"I parked so that the back of the car was level with the scout hut."
She continued: "Sometime around 3pm I got ready to leave. I unlocked the car and walked round to the passenger side and loaded all Kiara's things. I then put her in the car but she did not fasten her seat.
"I closed her door and walked round to the driver's door which I opened and as I realized my bank card had snapped.
"I took the card out and knew I did not have any food at home. I gave the card to Kiara and told her I would be two secs.
"The keys were either in the driver's door or in the ignition. I told Kiara I would be two seconds. I opened the padlock and went into the office.
"I could hear Kiara in the car. When I left there was singing and shouting. I knelt down by the safe in the office.
"I got a £ 10 note out and shut the door. I went out of the office and put the padlock on. I could see that my car was gone.
"I was gone for about three minutes. I went down to the river and could not see anything. My next thought was that the car had been taken. I asked people if they'd seen anything. "
The worried mum alerted the emergency services before "running about everywhere", asking drivers whether they'd seen the car.
"I dialed 999 and told them my car had been taken with daughter inside," she said.
"I looked everywhere. I phoned my mum as I was panicking.
"We bought the car second-hand and to my knowledge there were no handbrake issues.
"Kiara normally sits in the front passenger seat of the car. Her seat is zero to four years.
"She's used to travel in the car and she likes to play with the radio controls but I never saw her playing with any other controls."
Kiara's dad Jet Moore, told how they had had the mini car for "about three years" and it had been regularly serviced.
He said there were no problems other than normal wear and tear, and he was not aware of any issues with the handbrake.
"It was often parked on a steep hill and we did not have issues with it," the father said.
"Kiara was in the vehicle with us often and I've never known her to play with the handbrake. She was not interested. "
The inquest heard the brave police officers waded into the freezing river in a bid to save the little girl after spotting the submerged car.
Carol Griffiths told the hearing at Aberystwyth Justice Center that she had originally been told to have been stolen with a "three-year-old girl inside", before being alerted to a car submerged in the river.
She said: "I looked at the water and could see the exterior of a car poking above the surface.
"I took off my stab vest, utility belt and boots."
The officer then paused giving her evidence as she began to cry, needing to compose herself before continuing.
She said: "The river was freezing cold and I could tell the current was very strong. I put my head under the water and it was really dirty.
"The car was fully immersed with water.
"The passenger window was open slightly, about 10cm."
PCSO Griffiths said she and another officer used a baton to smash one of the car's windows open, which led to Kiara's body 'floating out'.
She said: "I then felt Kiara's body.
"She floated out of the vehicle into my arms. She was wearing a pink jacket which matched the clothing described by her mother.
"As we reached the riverbank, I took hold of her and lowered her onto the floor, putting her gently on the ground.
"Officers began CPR on her. All I remember is standing there looking at her body on the ground.
"Her head was rolling all around the place and her face was purple."
Detective Constable Hannah Garney said CCTV footage showed Kim had left Kiara inside the vehicle for two minutes and one second while she went inside the building to retrieve cash to go food shopping.
She said the Mini could be seen in CCTV at the back of the workplace.
She said: "At 4.28pm bright-colored trainers come into view from the vehicle and go out of view at 4.29pm.
"At 4.32pm the car started to roll backwards towards the slip. At 4.32pm the vehicle is out of view.
"A woman comes from the building carrying items.
"She can be seen then talking on the phone."
The hearing was told the woman was Kiara's mum.
Dyfed-Powys Police have previously said there would be no charges in relation to the "tragic incident".
The inquest continues.