Maryland Mother Sentenced for Abandoning 10 Children in Freezing Weather

Prosecutors say she left her children inside a van with no heat along East West Highway

A mother has been sentenced to spend more than eight months in prison for leaving her children in a broken down minivan on the side of a highway in Montgomery County, Maryland, in 20-degree weather.

Sheri Marshall, of Silver Spring, and 10 of her children were in the van in December 2016 when she kicked out her 12-year-old son and made him walk along the Beltway because he couldn't fix the car's broken heat.

Marshall kept driving with the other nine children, ranging in age from 1 to 11, in the van. They stayed in the minivan for two days in freezing weather on the side of East West Highway, prosecutors said.

After the van ran out of gas, Marshall and the children went to sleep. When the kids woke up, their mom was gone, police said.

Prosecutors say the children got hungry and had to scrounge through the car to find enough change to buy food. They went to a nearby chicken restaurant where employees fed them and called police.

While that case was being tried, Marshall was arrested twice for driving under the influence, according to prosecutors. The arrests happened while she was pregnant with her 14th child, prosecutors said.

Marshall admitted in court on Thursday that she has a drinking problem and she is going through treatment in a halfway house.

Marshall's lawyer said hours after the baby was born, child protective services took him into its custody.

Marshall was sentenced to 11 months with 70 days suspended.

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