A 37-year-old Haltom City woman jailed earlier this month after leaving her two young children in her car while she was at work has been released after a grand jury declined to indict her in the case.
Jane Chiamaka Obiadi had told a Tarrant County Sheriff’s deputy that she brought her 5-year-old son and 8-month-old daughter to her job at the Amazon Fulfillment Center in Haslet after being unable to find a babysitter.
An Amazon manager had called 911 after spotting the two children alone inside a Toyota Camry in the parking lot around 8 p.m. on Oct. 13.
Obiadi, who is from Nigeria but had her youngest daughter while living in the United States, was arrested at the scene and later charged with two counts of abandoning/endangering a child with intent to return.
Her children were taken into custody by Child Protective Services and placed in foster care.
Unable to pay her $10,000 bond, Obiadi had remained in the Tarrant County Jail since her Oct. 13 arrest.
When you come from nothing, you have nothing
Charles Burgess, defense attorney for Jane Obiadi
Thursday afternoon, a Tarrant County grand jury returned a no-bill on the charge. She was released from jail later that evening, jail records show.
Obiadi’s attorney, Charles Burgess, said he was pleased with the grand jury’s decision. He described Obiadi as “a single mom doing the best she can.”
“When you come from nothing, you have nothing,” Burgess said. “And if you don’t go to work, you won’t have a place to take your children or food to feed them that night. I would do exactly what Jane did.”
Tarrant County Sheriff’s deputies were called to the Amazon distribution center shortly after 8 p.m. on Oct. 13 on a report of two children being found alone in a vehicle.
“A manager at the location was walking outside in the parking lot and heard a child call for help,” said Deputy Chief Mike Simonds.
The manager called 911, removed the children from the 2010 Camry through an unlocked passenger door, and took them inside the business.
Obiadi was identified as the children’s mother and found inside the business after a responding deputy ran the car’s license plate.
Simonds said the children had been left with food, included a sandwich and crackers, and “sippy cups.”
“There was some evidence that the children had possibly urinated and defecated while being left unattended,” he said.
He said deputies smelled urine coming from the vehicle and found a 12-ounce Coke bottle with what appeared to be urine inside.
The 5-year-old evidently did say before the mother came out that sometimes this happens when a babysitter is not available.
Mike Simonds, Chief Deputy with the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office
Simonds said the mother’s normal 11-hour work shift was from 6 p.m. to 5 a.m.
He said Obiadi told the deputy that she had brought the children to her workplace after being unable to find a babysitter, but that she had planned to leave a little early.
“The 5-year-old evidently did say before the mother came out that sometimes this happens when a babysitter is not available,” Simonds said.
Obiadi was arrested at the scene and charged Oct. 19 with the state-jail felony.
She was accused of exposing her children to unreasonable risk or harm by leaving them in a vehicle in the parking lot at the online retail giant.
Bond in the case was set at $10,000 — an amount that Burgess said Obiadi couldn’t afford.
“It’s all about perspective,” Burgess said. “I had a motion in my hand yesterday trying to get it reduced. In a case like this, about a $2,500 bond is the going rate. I don’t know why hers was so high.”
Burgess said Obiadi is now focused on trying to get her children back.
“I think it shouldn’t be a problem,” Burgess said. “This was an aggressive charge but thank goodness we have a grand jury that listened to the case.”