Dr Phil: She Left Her Babies Alone in a Car
Dr Phil shared a story you might have heard about in the headlines. But there is probably more to it than you realized at first. Why did Shanesha leave her two sons in a hot car to go to a job interview? That choice set off a chain reaction of consequences that are still following Shanesha a year later. Shanesha was arrested and charged with felony child abuse. Supporters raised more than $100,000 for her, but she continued to face obstacles in the legal system. Find out what really happened that day.
It was March 2014, and Shanesha hoped that things were finally turning a corner in her life. She lost her job and was homeless, but she finally landed an important job interview. The single mom found a babysitter to take care of her sons, but that person dropped out at the last minute. Since the interview was only supposed to last 15 minutes, Shanesha took the boys, a 2-year-old and a 6-month-old, along and left them in the car.
Dr Phil: How Hot Does It Get in a Locked Car?
Shanesha’s interview went very well, and it wound up lasting longer than she expected. But it seemed like she was securing the job she needed to provide for her family. She left the interview feeling great…until she got back to her parking lot. That’s where a passerby had called police. Shanesha was arrested and spent 11 days in jail.
She spoke with Dr Phil about the events of that day. What would you do in this situation? Just imagine that you have no other options. Shanesha did not want to have to make this decision; no one would choose to be put in that position. Dr Phil wondered why she thought the interview would be so quick, and Shanesha said it was a pre-interview, to see whether she was a fit for the job.
Dr Phil pointed out that the temperature can rise rapidly in a short time period when you are trapped inside a car. Though it may only be 70 F outside, it takes just about 20 minutes for the air temperature in the car to reach 99 F. As time goes on, those temps will continue to rise (and they get hotter faster if the outside temperature is higher). Shanesha had cracked the windows slightly, but first responders reported that her infant was sweating and crying when they arrived.
Dr Phil: Felony Child Abuse
Dr Phil also brought Shanesha’s former attorney into the conversation. He thinks that he helped to score her a great deal by working with the prosecution. But that is not how his former client saw the situation. What were their differences?
Since Shanesha initially lost custody of her children, one of her primary goals was to have them returned to her. The attorney was also focused on helping Shanesha to avoid spending any time in prison. Since she was facing two felony counts of child abuse. Though he got a deal that met these goals, Shanesha was not satisfied.
Dr Phil: Walking a Fine Line & No Room for Error
“There were many times in the case where I expressed concern,” she said. It seems that the sticking point was that $100,000 in donations collected on Shanesha’s behalf. The courts wanted it put into a trust for her children, but she felt that the family needed the money to get by in the immediate future.
“I’m walking a very fine line, so that means there is no room for error,” she said. Shanesha agreed with Dr Phil that she was desperate when she went into that job interview. Being faced with the prospect of a financial windfall seemed enticing given her circumstances. Dr Phil agreed with Shanesha’s attorney that she should have taken the deal and put the money aside for her children’s futures.
Dr Phil: Fruitless Job Search
“Why would you rely on that gifted money rather than getting a job?” Dr Phil asked. Shanesha said that she has been pounding the pavement in search of opportunities, but things are not panning out thus far. Her goal was to find a job so that she could put the donations into savings as a safety net.
Dr Phil seemed to think that her priorities were out of order in the heat of the moment. Her attorney, Benjamin, said this was a sweet deal that most people in her situation never have the chance to even consider, and she turned it down.
Dr Phil: How Shanesha Spent the Money
So what became of the money that strangers raised and donated to Shanesha and her family? She broke down some of the ways she has put the money to use for her family.
- One Year of Rent – $13,000
- Furnishings – $7,000
- Bills, Utilities, Car Rental, and Food – $2,100
- Clothes, Shoes, Toys – $2,500
Her former lawyer, who is also a reverend, told the media that Shanesha blew the money on designer clothes and handbags. She explained that she only has one purse, which doubles as a diaper bag. She also showed off her wardrobe, which she said came from discount stores.
One tabloid report claimed that Shanesha spent $6,000 to help produce her boyfriend’s rap album. She said that her boyfriend does not rap, and complained about the media stirring up lies about her because she was in the spotlight. Her ex-lawyer said that people were bringing these concerns to his attention, and he called her out for financial mismanagement.
Dr Phil: #TellingHerSide & Providing a Safe Home
Shanesha said that she did not spend money on her hair or clothes, especially since she knew that she was under such intense scrutiny. “People want to know that the funds that they gave to you are being used for a good cause,” Shanesha said. She added that she has done that, providing a safe home for her sons.
What do you think about Shanesha #TellingHerSide? It might be more productive to focus on the broader issues here, like why it is so difficult for parents to find childcare as well as stable employment that can pay the bills.
It also seems unfair that people who donated should get a say in what happens to their money, unless that was the agreement from the beginning. You can’t get mad at someone because you don’t like what they’re doing with the tablet you gave them. A gift is a gift, and by definition it puts no obligation on the recipient. Tell me what you think by leaving a comment.