The Ohio mom who was arrested in February after leaving two of her three children — a 10-year-old and a 3-year-old — at a Motel 6 as she worked at a pizza restaurant down the road has had the primary charges against her dismissed by a judge.
The judge apologized to 24-year-old Shaina Bell following a pretrial hearing on May 26 in Girard Municipal Court in which Bell pleaded no contest to two counts of disorderly conduct and saw the judge dismiss child endangerment changes against her.
Judge Jeffrey Adler said in court that the case should have been handled by the relevant social services agency and that Bell never should have been arrested.
“When the matter arose, I was personally offended that this young woman was arrested and taken to jail instead of just being served with a summons. That should never have happened. People with more serious offenses are not being taken to jail at this time,” said Adler. “Based on everything I know about the case, it could have been handled a lot differently. I think Miss Bell learned a lesson here.”
People rallied to support Bell in February after learning about the young mom’s ordeal, donating over $165,000 to an online fundraiser to support her family.
After the father of Bell’s children called the police, responding officers found the kids, 10-year-old Faith, and 3-year-old Jade, on Feb. 11, alone shortly after 6 p.m. at a Motel 6 in Liberty Ohio, where they had been living. Faith told police Bell would return by 10 p.m. Bell was then arrested at the Little Caesars down the street where she worked and spent a night in jail after being charged with two misdemeanor counts of endangering children. The kids were turned over to their father.
According to Bell, the oldest child was old enough to be along with her youngest sibling. She also said she made sure someone checked on the kids every hour while she was away.
“My kids bring me joy. They make me laugh. They’re my world. I would never do anything to harm my kids. My kids are everything to me,” Bell told WKBN in February. “That’s all I do is go to work and take care of my kids. That’s all I do.”
She explained, “I had to go to work. My daughter decided that she wanted to stay here. My daughter told me that this is where she wants to be, and I felt that she was old enough to be able to stay here with her sister for a few hours because my job is right down the street.”
After receiving massive financial support from donors online through a GoFundMe page started by Danielle Hosey, who said she is Bell’s mother, Bell said she was going to use the money to buy a home for herself and her children.
She also received support from Quality Control Music Label co-founder Pierre “Pee” Thomas and NBA player JaVale McGee, who each donated thousand of dollars to the campaign.
“My mom used to have to do the same thing when we were young, not cause of abandonment issues, it’s because people can’t afford child care working at a pizza shop,” Thomas commented on Instagram. “She wasn’t hanging out at a club. She was at work.”
An update posted to the campaign in late February said Bell had purchased a home.