Child's Play Leads to Child Abuse Charges

Woman charged after kids sneak into car trunk

By Ashley E. Brown
|  Wednesday, Mar 17, 2010  |  Updated 10:00 AM EDT
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Kids Caught Riding in Car Trunk

NBCWashington.com

The offending trunk.

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Kids Caught Riding in Car Trunk

A St. Mary's County, Md. woman faces child abuse charges after her daughter and niece crawled into the car's trunk just for "fun."
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A St. Mary's County, Md., woman is facing criminal charges after her 12-year-old daughter and 10-year-old niece were found riding in the trunk of her car. Although the mother is the one facing serious trouble, her young daughter is claiming responsibility for the mess.

It started Sunday afternoon, while Melissa Redman drove her Ford Focus through Lexington Park with her niece and daughter in the back seat. Twelve-year-old Kaylynn said her younger cousin suggested they crawl from the back seat into the trunk.

"I thought it would be fun," Kaylynn explained on Tuesday, sitting outside her home with her mother next to their car. "So we pulled down the back seat and climbed back there."

Kaylynn said her mother started yelling at them to get out of the trunk once she realized what was going on. Then the 10-year-old popped the trunk door open from the inside, apparently much to the horror of a person driving behind them. That person called 911 to alert the authorities about a car rolling along with two children visible in the trunk.

Sheriff's office deputies ended up pulling Redman over and arresting her on second-degree child abuse.

"A rear-collision with a child in the trunk like that could have been fatal," said St. Mary's County Sheriff's Office Capt. Ed. Willenborg. Both Redman and her daughter say the danger of the situation was not lost on them.

"I should have pulled over on the side of the road and made sure," said Redman, "Instead of just hollering at [the girls]."

"It was dumb," Kaylynn admitted of her and her cousin's actions. She said she was sorry to cause her mother, whom she described as her hero, so much trouble.

A judge will hear Redman's case, along with Kaylynn's side of the story, in a hearing scheduled for April 1.

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