The video showed a woman unlatching one of two pet kennels that were stowed in the trunk of a car. A pair of hot pink trainers poked through the small opening. Then a young girl came into view, inching out of the kennel, stepping onto the street and walking unsteadily to the sidewalk.
The video, recorded by a bystander in Memphis, Tennessee, on Saturday, was widely shared online, leading to the arrest of the woman, Leimome Cheeks, 62, on charges of child endangerment, police and jail records show. She had put two children, ages 8 and 7, inside the kennels, police said.
Cheeks was released on bail Sunday and arraigned Monday in General Sessions Criminal Court in Memphis, according to court records. Judge Loyce Lambert Ryan set a new court date of July 9.
There was no answer at Cheeks’ home Monday. It was not immediately clear if she had a lawyer.
The short video clip showed one of the children getting out of the car, a Ford Explorer, on Elvis Presley Boulevard, police said. The Commercial Appeal and other local news outlets identified the two children as Cheeks’ grandchildren.
A description of the car and its license plate number were sent to the Memphis Police Department, which began an investigation that led to Cheeks, the police affidavit said.
According to the affidavit, the children told officers that there had been no room inside the car, so Cheeks “told them to get inside the kennel.”
“She checked on the children periodically and later removed them from the kennel and put them in the rear seats of her vehicle,” the affidavit said.
Cheeks drove the children from the Whitehaven neighbourhood to the suburb of Collierville, a distance of about 27 miles, and through downtown Memphis, where it was 35 degrees Celsius.
There was no ventilation in the rear of the Ford Explorer, the affidavit said.
A spokesman for the state Department of Children’s Services, Rob Johnson, said it was investigating. The children were not placed in state custody.
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