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Charges dismissed against mother after Leland tragedy

Jenea Monique Payne

Criminal charges have been dismissed against the mother who lost two children after her vehicle rolled into a creek.

Posted: Mar 20, 2019 11:22 AM
Updated: Mar 20, 2019 12:43 PM

Editor's Note: This article was modified to include information concerning Judge Laverne Simpson and the decision.

LELAND, Miss. (WTVA) - Criminal charges have been dismissed against the mother who lost two children after her vehicle rolled into a creek, WLBT-TV reports.

Jenea Monique Payne, 25, was charged with two counts of negligent homicide and one of child neglect after the incident on March 9 in Leland.

A third child survived.

Washington County Justice Court Judge Laverne Simpson noted Payne's lack of criminal history and ruled there wasn't enough evidence to find her at fault. Prosecutors could still seek to indict her.

RELATED: Mom arrested after 2 of her 3 children drown in locked SUV 

Payne told investigators she left the three children for five or 10 minutes while she went into a convenience store, reported The Associated Press.

Leland Police Chief Marcus Davis said the mother left the keys in the vehicle, and investigators believe the 4-year-old put the keys in the ignition, turned the car on and put it in neutral, causing it to roll into the creek.

This is a developing story as more information is expected to be released soon. 

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