A young mother in Ohio was arrested and is facing charges of child endangerment after police said she left her children in a motel room while she worked at a local pizza shop.
The case has attracted national attention, including a Democratic lawmaker's support for the woman, and a GoFundMe page has been set up to help her and her children.
According to local NBC affiliate WFMJ, Shaina Bell of Liberty Township was arrested late last week after leaving her two young daughters in a motel room on Thursday. Police said they found the girls, ages 10 and 2, after they received a tip, the station reported.
The girls were reportedly found sometime after 6 p.m. The older sister told police that their mother was expected to return a few hours later, according to the station.
After police found Bell, 24, working at a local pizza shop, she reportedly told them that her children are checked on hourly when she is at work.
Bell was arrested and charged with child endangerment, according to WFMJ. She has since been released from jail after making bail.
The station reported that her children were placed in their father’s custody and that Bell has pleaded not guilty to the child endangerment charges. Her court hearing is reportedly scheduled for April.
The case has picked up traction online in recent days, with many coming out in support of Bell, including Arizona Rep. Ruben GallegoRuben GallegoSinema trails potential primary challengers in progressive poll Hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops still unvaccinated ahead of first vaccine deadline: report The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate nears surprise deal on short-term debt ceiling hike MORE (D).
“Women are dammed if they do or damned if they don’t,” Gallego tweeted in response to the story over the weekend. “Stay at home with your kids and receive government assistance and you are a leach, go to work for poverty wages and can’t get consistent sitters and go to jail.”
Women are dammed if they do or damned if they don’t. Stay at home with your kids and receive government assistance and you are a leach, go to work for poverty wages and can’t get consistent sitters and go to jail. https://t.co/9NJxEPgCFs— Ruben Gallego (@RubenGallego) February 15, 2021
A GoFundMe has been set up to help Bell and her children. It has raised more than $62,500 in the past two days.
The case has also prompted calls on social media for universal child care and comes as a number of progressive groups have put pressure on Congress to prioritize the needs of women in the COVID-19 relief package, including raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour.
“The simple truth is that women, especially Black women, Latina women, Asian American and Pacific Islander women, and Indigenous women, have suffered the worst impacts of the pandemic, and they need to be lifted up in the solutions and relief you draft and ultimately pass in Congress,” progressive groups including NARAL Pro-Choice America and the Women’s March wrote earlier this month.