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Woman leaves infants in hot car while shopping
Now out of jail on $3,000 bond

By Linda Looney-Bond

lbond@news-daily.com

A Barnesville woman, who was arrested for allegedly leaving her infant twins alone in a car on an extremely hot day -- while she shopped at an Ellenwood department store Saturday -- has been released from the Clayton County Jail on bond.

Jenesia Williams, 26, was charged with two counts of cruelty to children, according to Clayton County Police spokesperson, Lt. Rebecca Brown.

Williams posted a bond of $3,000 and was released from the jail Sunday, according to jail officials.

Around 10 p.m., Saturday, Clayton County Police responded to a 911 call from a shopper at the Wal-Mart located at 2940 Anvil Block Road, a police report states. The caller reported that two infants had been left unattended in a vehicle even though temperatures outside were sweltering, and had hovered in the upper 90s for much of the day.

Authorities were able to reach through one of the car's windows and unlock the car, according to Brown.

"The offender [Williams] stated that she had only left them [infants] in the vehicle for five minutes, but the [caller] advised 10 to 30 minutes," the police report states.

A medical unit on the scene examined the four-month-old twins and advised that they were in "good health," according to the report.

Police contacted the children's father, and after getting clearance from the Department of Family and Children Services, released the infants to the father, according to the report.

"I was shocked to learn that a mother would do that to her children, especially young children," said Clayton County Police Chief Jeff Turner. "We take those types of crimes very seriously. We'll be looking to make sure that we prosecute her to the fullest extent of the law," said Turner.

"She should be doing everything in her power to protect them, and not put them in harm's way," said Turner.

The temperature in Ellenwood around 10 p.m., Saturday was approximately 84 degrees, but felt like 88 degrees, according to hourly conditions posted on The Weather Channel web site.

Turner said in addition to possible danger to the children's health from sitting in a hot car unattended, the infants could have faced other dangers. "Any stranger who had ill intentions could have easily opened the door to the vehicle and taken the children," he said.

Attorney Steven Lister said that his law firm, Lister and Holt, was assigned to Williams' case when she requested a court-appointed attorney, during a first appearance hearing in Clayton County Magistrate Court Sunday. However, Lister said a staff attorney had not made contact with Williams on Monday.