Babysitters charged with child endangering after kids were found in back of U-Haul truck

ELYRIA, Ohio - Two adults were charged with child endangering for transporting children in the back of a U-Haul truck. 

Police say the children were sweating from the heat with temperatures climbing into the 90s.

"Who knows how long they've been in there and when was the last time they had something to drink or something to eat," said Matthew Pearce, an Elyria City employee who saw the five kids in the back of the U-Haul and called for help.

Officers were called to the Speedway gas station around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday.

A 2-year-old was already being treated for heat exhaustion.

"He was covered in sweat from head to toe, like dripping wet like he just got out of the shower," said Pearce.

Five children ranging in ages from 2 to 15 years old were in the back of the U-haul with 25-year-old Jamie Adkin.

"Their faces were just so red, their hair was soaked," said Nicholas Vealay, who helped Pearce.

Pearce and Vealay, both fathers and both city street employees, were on their break at an Elyria Speedway when they saw something weird - a U-Haul van with six people piling into the back and locking the back hatch.

"I ran out of the Speedway and I stopped them and I asked them to please exit the vehicle and he did so, and he opened up the back for me, which I told him to do, and I noticed that there were five children in there," said Pearce.

The youngest child was taken to University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center in Elyria before being air lifted to University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital for further treatment.

The other children went to a nearby hospital but didn't have any major injuries. However, the children did have bed bugs, lice and fleas on them, according to the police report.

"There was an ashtray in there with put out cigarettes that looked like they had been smokes," said Vealay. "There is no ventilation at all in the back of those box trucks."

Brian Dekam, 55, was driving the vehicle. Adkin's fiancé was a passenger in the front.

Adkin told officers they all woke up around 4:30 a.m. to go to Jamie's Flea Market in Amherst. She and the children were driving back to Cleveland when they stopped at Speedway to get drinks.

While in booking, Adkin told officers she was the babysitter for the four younger children, not including the 15-year-old.

Adkin said she has been in charge of the children for nearly two weeks. According to police, the children's mother had dropped the kids off with her.

The four younger children will be placed in foster care and will await a foster home, according to children services.

Adkin was charged with four counts of endangering children, including one felony of the third degree and three misdemeanors of the first count. Dekam was charged with five counts of endangering children, including one felony of the third degree and four misdemeanors of the first degree.

Both Adkin and Dekam are being held on $13,000 bond. They were given a court date for August 3 at 10 a.m.

"Pay attention to your surroundsing," Vealay said. "Never know when you could be at the right place at the right time."

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