Mom charged after children drown when SUV rolls into creek

FILE PHOTO: A mother has been charged after police said she left her three children alone in a vehicle that ended up in a river.

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FILE PHOTO: A mother has been charged after police said she left her three children alone in a vehicle that ended up in a river.

A mother from Leland, Mississippi, who left her three children locked in an SUV that rolled into a creek, killing two of the children has been charged with manslaughter and child neglect.

Jenea Monique Payne told police she left her three children in her vehicle Saturday as she ran into a store around 5:45 p.m., WAPT reported.  She said she was gone for five or 10 minutes, The Associated Press reported.

Payne said when she came out of the store she discovered that the car was gone and had rolled into a creek.

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Police said she had left the keys in the SUV, and one of the children was able to get the key into the ignition, started the vehicle and got it in neutral, according to the AP.

Explore>>Read: 2 children killed, one rescued after locked SUV rolls into creek

Onlookers, including the Leland Fire Chief, had seen the vehicle floating in Deer Creek and tried to rescue the children. But they were only successful in getting one child, Raelynn Johnson, 2, out of the SUV before having to abandon the rescue, WAPT reported.

A dive team eventually found the SUV around 8 p.m. and towed it from the water. The two boys, Rasheed Johnson Jr., 1 year old, and Steve Smith, 4, were found dead inside the Nissan.

Payne was charged with two counts of manslaughter-culpable negligence and a count of child neglect, police told WAPT.

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