Children Drown After Mother Left Them Inside Locked Car: Police

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
March 11, 2019USshare
Children Drown After Mother Left Them Inside Locked Car: Police
Two children drowned in a creek in Leland, Miss., after the car they were in rolled into the water, police said, on March 9, 2019. (Leland Police Department)

Two toddlers drowned in Mississippi late on March 9 after their mother left them inside a locked car, which rolled into a creek.

Jenea Monique Payne, 25, told police officers in Leland that she left her three young children inside the car as she went into a Stop-n-Go.

When she came back out, the car was gone.

Police officers rushed to Deer Creek, near the store, to find a white Nissan Pathfinder floating with the three kids—Steve Smith, 4, Raelynn Johnson, 2, and Rasheed Johnson Jr.—trapped inside.

NTD Photo
(Google Maps)
NTD Photo
(Google Maps)

Leland Fire Chief Bobby Johnson and five other first responders jumped into the creek and tried to bust the windows of the car to get the children out.

“As the vehicle floated down the creek, these individuals ended up only being able to rescue one of the three kids before having to swim to safety,” the Leland Police Department said in a statement.

Raelynn was saved but Steve and Rasheed perished.

“The vehicle then drifted further down and into the creek. Leland volunteer firefighters probed the creek attempting to find the vehicle when a rescue dive team arrived and entered the water,” the department stated.

The vehicle wasn’t located again until 8 p.m., about two hours after the rescue.

It was eventually pulled out of the water by a tow truck. The boys were pronounced dead at 8:37 p.m.

According to WJTV, investigators obtained the surveillance video from the store the mother went into and are reviewing the footage as part of the investigation.

It wasn’t clear if she will face charges.

3-Year-Old Girl Dies After Mother Leaves Her Unattended

A 3-year-old Texas girl died after she was found unresponsive in a bathtub by her mother at their Decatur home.

Eve Blankenfeld was taking a bath on March 1 with her mother in the room.

Her mother then left.

“The mother put her child in the bathtub and then walked into another room to tend to two other kids,” Decatur Police Rex Hoskins told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “She came back and found the child face-down in the bathtub.”

The mother pulled the girl out of the tub and tried to do CPR after contacting the police. She was rushed to the hospital and transferred to a hospital in Fort Worth, about 34 miles away, but passed away on March 5.

Girl drowns in bathtub
Eve Blankenfeld, 3, died on March 5, 2019. (Tanner and Ruth Blankenfeld/GoFundMe)

“It was a tragic accident,” Hoskins said.

According to WFAA, police will not charge the girl’s parents over the accident.

A GoFundMe for Eve’s family was started by a family friend.

“We are deeply saddened to inform you that on the evening of March 5th, 2019, Eve passed away and returned to her Heavenly Father. We are relieved her passing was peaceful and painless,” the friend wrote.

“Eve was in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit for 5 days and had an amazing team of doctors and nurses working around the clock. Please continue to pray for this family as they mourn the loss of their daughter. Any donations will be greatly appreciated, and will go to help this family overcome the financial burden of this tragedy.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in 2018 that unintentional injuries, including drownings, were the leading causes of death for children ages 1 to 4.

“Each year, about 4,000 people drown in the United States; drowning kills more children 1-4 years of age than anything else except birth defects,” the agency stated. “Among children 1-14, drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death (after motor vehicle crashes).”

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