October 20, 2020

Charges dropped against mother of children who drowned in locked SUV

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.

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.