MIAMI COUNTY — A local woman whose two toddler-aged children walked out of a home and were missing for more than four hours was sentenced by Miami County Common Pleas Judge Stacy Wall to serve two years of community control.
Bonnie G. Smith, 31, who now resides in Piqua, previously entered a plea of guilty to one count of fourth-degree felony child endangerment from the incident reported on July 15 in Miami County Common Pleas Court. As part of her community control conditions, Smith must complete a mental health treatment plan, submit to random drug screens, make payments on $34,000 in back child support, follow the Children Services plan and “not live in your car.” Wall reserved a year in prison if Smith fails to comply.
Miami County Assistant Prosecutor Janna Parker requested a prison sentence despite it being Smith’s first felony offense because it wasn’t Smith’s first conviction for child endangerment. Parker said Smith had told a Troy police officer “I’ve had it before” after she was located hours later. Parker said as a parent herself she couldn’t imagine a more horrifying circumstance than if her children were missing.
Public defense attorney Stephen King said Smith was seeking treatment for mental health and substance abuse at the Miami County Recovery Council. King said Smith suffered from several mental health issues to explain Smith’s attitude the day of the incident.
Wall said Smith gave officers multiple stories of how the children were able to get out of the home, but said Smith was ultimately responsible for the children as their mother.
“I don’t think you should have custody of your children,” Wall said. “These children are safe right now because they aren’t with you.”
According to reports, Smith was homeless, living out of her car with two children, a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old, prior to the July 15 incident. The incident occurred at Smith’s mother’s home in the 1300 block of Sussex Road in Troy, where Smith was staying in the garage on an air mattress and the children were sleeping in portable cribs. The children wandered away from the home and were found by a neighbor. The neighbor reportedly bathed the children who were “sweaty” due to temperatures being 84 degrees at the time they were found.
Wall said she had “no idea how a 1-year-old gets out of a Pack and Play.”
Smith was located four hours later only a two doors down from where the children were found. Smith never reported the children as missing from the home throughout the incident.
“I had no where else to go that night,” Smith said in court. Smith said she now lives in an apartment in Piqua and the children are in the custody of a family member.
Officers noted she was not remorseful and reportedly stated, “It’s just child endangerment charges, I’ve had them before.”An officer recognized Smith as a homeless person living in her car located in the Jumpy’s parking lot during an investigation last May.
Smith was previously convicted of child endangerment in January 2013 from a Piqua case. She was found guilty and successfully served probation. She was also charged with child abuse in a West Milton case in 2017 and two other child abuse cases were filed on Smith from Piqua in 2012, according to the police officer’s report.
According to the pre-sentence investigation report, Smith owes $34,000 in back child support for three other children who are no longer in her custody.
Wall asked Smith about the status of her other children, which Smith said one lived with another relative and another was adopted. Smith was granted 18 days of jail credit.
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