Charges dropped against mother of drowned children

Are legal troubles behind 25-year-old Jenea Payne?

Charges dropped for mom who lost kids in creek

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Criminal charges are dropped against the Washington county woman whose children drowned while she was inside a convenience store.

It comes as a relief to the grieving mother, but are her legal troubles behind her?

“She’s a young mother, had three children. She’s only left with one child,” said Jenea Payne’s attorney Carlos Moore.

The Leland resident was preparing to bury two of her children who drowned when she learned Tuesday that charges of manslaughter and child neglect were dismissed by a Washington County Justice Court Judge.

On March 9th, the 25-year-old pulled into the Stop-N-Shop in Leland, leaving her three children in the SUV.

Jenea Payne's sons four year old Steve Smith and one year old Rasheed Johnson drowned when her SUV rolled into a creek March 9th. Source: WLBT
Jenea Payne's sons four year old Steve Smith and one year old Rasheed Johnson drowned when her SUV rolled into a creek March 9th. Source: WLBT

Minutes later the vehicle rolled into Deer Creek.

“Of course she is happy in that the charges were dropped, but she is not at peace because her children can not be brought back. So we ask that everyone continues to pray for her,” said Moore.

The Grenada lawyer, who volunteered to represent Payne, said Leland police rushed to judgment when charging his client.

He reached out to her after learning about the manslaughter charges, but he said his client may not be out of the woods yet.

“While the justice court judge did dismiss the case, the district attorney still could present the case to the grand jury as early as July,” added Moore.

Payne’s two-year-old daughter Raelynn Johnson was rescued from the submerged vehicle.

Funeral services for four-year-old Steve Smith and one-year-old Rasheed Johnson, Junior will be held Saturday.

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