Charges dropped against mother of children who drowned in locked SUV

Published 1:54 pm Wednesday, March 20, 2019

A judge has dismissed charges against a 25-year-old Mississippi woman after two of her three children drowned when she left them in a locked car that rolled into a creek.

The Delta Democrat-Times reports Washington County Justice Court Judge Laverne Simpson threw out negligent homicide and child neglect charges against Jenea Monique Payne following a Tuesday hearing.

Simpson noted Payne’s lack of criminal history and ruled there wasn’t enough evidence to find her at fault. Prosecutors could still seek to indict her.

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Leland police arrested Payne after she left three children in an SUV while she went into a grocery store. She returned to find the Nissan Pathfinder had rolled into Deer Creek.

Drowned were 4-year-old Steve Smith and 1-year-old Rasheed Johnson. Two-year-old Raelynn Johnson was rescued.