ELYRIA, OH — A babysitter and her fiancé face multiple charges of child endangerment after a city worker found a group of kids shut in the cargo area of their U-Haul truck at an Ohio gas station.
Police said Jamie Adkins was babysitting the five kids and her fiancé, Brian Dekam, was driving the truck.
Matthew Pearce, who works with the city’s Street Department, told police that he and his colleague Nicholas Vealey noticed the children getting into the back of the vehicle at around 2 P.M. on Wednesday at the Speedway in Elyria.
He said that he prevented the driver from pulling away — and, when Dekam rolled up the back of the truck, was shocked to see the kids and two dogs in the back. “It smelled like feces and reeked of cigarettes,” Pearce told The Chronicle, adding that the youngest child was strapped into a car seat and appeared to be unresponsive.
According to authorities, Adkins has been watching the children — four between the ages of two and six, and a 15-year-old — for about two weeks. She reportedly told police that she has been “like a godmother” to the children and that their mother, Kimberly Hull, was aware of the couple’s road trip plans.
Police arrived on the scene, and after finding the kids in back of the 10-foot box truck, the two-year-old was treated at the scene for heat exhaustion, and later flown to a hospital for treatment.
The other children were taken to the hospital — where staff found them infested with bed bugs, lice, ringworm, and fleas.
The four younger children are now in the care of Cuyahoga County Children Family Services. The dog was removed by the dog warden.
Adkins told police they left Cleveland around 4:30 A.M. Wednesday and drove to a flea market. He claimed that the kids rode in the back of the U-Haul all the way there, and that the family was headed back to Cleveland.
Adkins was charged with four counts of endangering children and Dekam was charged with five counts.
Main photo: Brian Dekam and Jamie Adkins [PROVIDED]