Crawford faces child endangerment charges
A Washington woman was released on personal recognizance today after turning herself in to police Tuesday on a warrant for four counts of child endangerment.
A preliminary hearing for Debra Renee Crawford, 48, of Washington, has been set for June 18. Child endangerment is an aggravated misdemeanor and punishable by up to two years in prison and up to a $6,250 fine.
The charges stem from allegations that she left four children in her care — ranging in age from 16 months to 5 years— strapped in car seats in a dark and hot room. According to court records Crawford committed child endangerment by being “a person in control of a child and knowingly commit an act that created a substantial risk to the child’s physical, mental and emotional health and safety.”
The report said that one of the children, labeled the “victim” in the report, had told her mother that she cried when she couldn’t get out of her buckle at the babysitters. The report said that another parent had reported that their child had stated that Crawford made them sleep in car seats buckled in. The report said that on May 12, two parents had gone to Crawford’s residence to check on their children during nap time at 1:30 p.m. The parents had said Crawford denied that the children slept buckled into car seats. The report also said that Crawford had not wanted the parents to see their children. The report said that Crawford finally admitted the children were sleeping in car seats.
According to the court document, the two parents were taken into a dark room which they described as “hot,” where children were found strapped into car seats. The report said that Crawford had said naptime was from 1 to 3 p.m. and that she had been strapping the victims into the car seats for about six months. The report said that when asked if the victim would have been comfortable in the child seats, Crawford had responded, “Probably not.”
The report said that one child was strapped into a car seat and a string was used to tie the buckles shut because she kept getting out. The report also said the seats were too small for the victims and that the victims had been told not to tell their parents about being strapped into car seats for nap time.