Jenea Monique Payne: Mississippi mother charged after 2 of her 3 children drown in ‘locked’ SUV as she left them unattended.
A Mississippi woman has been arrested after two of her three children drowned when she left them in a locked car as it rolled into a creek over the weekend.
The Clarion-Ledger reported Leland police charging 25 year old mother, Jenea Monique Payne on Monday with two counts of negligent homicide and one of child neglect.
Payne told investigators she left the children for five or 10 minutes while she went into a convenience store on Saturday. Two-year-old Raelynn Johnson was rescued as Payne’s SUV floated downstream. The child’s siblings, four-year-old Steve Smith and 1-year-old Rasheed Johnson Jr. drowned in the vehicle, authorities said.
Leland Police Chief Marcus Davis said Payne left the keys in the vehicle. Davis said investigators believe the 4-year-old put the keys in the ignition, turned the car on and put it in neutral, causing it to roll into the creek.
Davis could not explain why Payne would have left her sleeping children in a locked car with the keys inside or how the 4-year-old could have reached the brake to depress it in order to crank the SUV.
‘We’ll look into it further,’ he said.
Jenea Monique Payne child drowning deaths: Manslaughter or just an accident?
Noted a post (in part) on Verna Gray’s Facebook wall which described with detail as officials were called to the emergency scene:
‘Upon the arrival of the Leland Police Department. The Leland Fire Chief Bobby Johnson, Sarah Hester, Jacob Humphrey, C J Hollins, Seth Humphrey, and Austin Macklemore had already located the vehicle with the three kids trapped inside. The Fire Chief and the others jumped into the creek and attempted to burst the windows out of the vehicle in order to get the kids 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 vehicle then drifted further down and into the creek.’
Payne has since been freed on bail. The bond amount was not immediately available.
When asked about Payne being charged with manslaughter on what could possibly have been an accident, Leland Police Chief Davis said, ‘The charge ain’t the problem. It’s losing the children that’s the problem. That’s the horrible thing.’
She did not have an attorney as of Monday afternoon who could comment for her.
Leland is about 85 miles northwest of Jackson.