EPD: Mother Arrested for Neglect While Buying Drugs

An Evansville mother is behind bars after being accused of leaving her kids home alone to go buy drugs. Authorities say they could also smell urine coming from that apartment when they responded.

Smith’s neighbor, Geri Mendoza, tells 44News when she heard Smith’s kids screaming and begging for their mom, her stomach was in knots.

“It absolutely broke my heart because no child should have to go through that,” says Mendoza. She lives in the same apartment building as Shayna smith on the 5000 block of Tippecanoe Drive. Mendoza says around 11:30 Tuesday she heard Smith’s three children trying to get to their mom. Their cries are engraved in her memory.

“It sounded like them rattling the bed, trying to open the door, beating on it screaming, ‘Mommy! Please let me out. I’m sorry. I love you. I want my mommy,'” says Mendoza.

She says she’s heard the kids making a ruckus before. Although, after they were yelling for thirty minutes, pleading for their mom, it became clear these kids needed help.

“They were jumping and doing anything they could do to make a noise,” says Mendoza. She tells 44News she called 911 around midnight.

“At one point the mom was present,” says Mendoza. “Then we heard the outside door slam and that’s when we decided to make the call.”

Police arrived just minutes later. Meanwhile, Mendoza was fearing the worst.

“I wish I could have gone up there sooner, but I didn’t know how to go about that,” says Mendoza.

Officers say when they got to the apartment they found 23-year-old Shayna Smith’s three little kids who are all under the age of four. They were still crying for their mom.

Smith and her girlfriend both lived in the apartment along with Smith’s kids. Police say when the two women came back home they didn’t have the same explanation as to where they were.

According to the affidavit, another woman was in the parking lot and told the officers she took Smith and her girlfriend downtown to buy drugs. When Mendoza found out about this she couldn’t wrap her mind around it.

“It…Blows my mind I don’t know how you could think it would be okay to leave a child abandoned to do that,” says Mendoza.

Smith’s kids have been placed in child protective services. She’s being held in the Vanderburgh County Jail without bond.

You can read more about this investigation here.



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