An Ohio couple has been charged with multiple felony counts after they were allegedly caught making the children in their care ride in the back of a U-Haul truck. The kids were drenched in sweat and covered in flea bites and bedbug bites, KCNC-TV (Denver) is reporting.
Two city workers were getting gas in the Cleveland suburb of Elyria when they noticed something amiss: five children, ages 2 to 15, being herded into the back of a U-Haul truck. The kids were soaking wet from sweating, considering that it was a hot day and the back of a U-Haul truck is neither ventilated nor air conditioned.
The workers then asked the adults, 55-year-old Brian Dekam and 25-year-old Jamie Adkins, what was happening. Not satisfied with their explanation, the workers prevented the couple from driving away and called the cops.
When police arrived, they discovered a horrifying scene. Not only were the kids drenched in sweat from their ordeal, they were allegedly infested with lice and covered in bites from fleas and bedbugs. The 2-year-old was in such a bad state that he was airlifted to a children’s hospital in Cleveland to be treated for heat exhaustion.
According to the city worker who found the scene, the youngest was “dripping wet, from head to toe, like he’d just go [sic] out of the shower.”
Elyria police Capt. Chris Constantino said that the youngest child was in “serious medical distress,” bright red, and unresponsive.
Adkins claimed that she had been caring for the kids for two weeks and hadn’t seen the kids’ mother. She explained she was taking the kids to a flea market down the road and that she had called the kids’ mother and told them where she was going and what she was doing. She said the mother had told her (Adkins) that she hoped the kids would “have fun.”
One of the city workers told local media that he was appalled that no one else noticed the kids being hauled around in the back of the truck.
“Nobody else was concerned enough to stop them or call anybody.”
Constantino also praised the city workers who took enough care to say something.
“If they hadn’t taken action, it could have been tragic.”
Adkins and Dekam were both taken into custody and charged with multiple counts of child endangerment, although they were later released from jail for undisclosed “medical reasons.”
[Featured Image by Elyria Police Department]