A Memphis grandmother is facing charges for the neglect and abuse of her two grandchildren. According to WREG, Leimome Cheeks 62, is facing charges following the release of a disturbing video that shows her releasing her two grandchildren – ages 7 and 8 – from dog crates. It has been reported that a local witness filmed the disturbing behavior and tipped off police. Now, the circumstances surrounding Cheeks’ actions have been revealed.
Deplorable Living Conditions:
It has been reported that Cheeks admitted to driving the children from Whitehaven, TN to Collierville, TN, which is approximately a 35-minute drive. The entire time, the two children were confined to the kennels. So why were the children in crates? Apparently, Cheeks claimed there was no room for them to sit on the back seat inside the vehicle. According to court documents, Cheeks recently purchased two German Shepherd puppies and the crates were for them, but she obviously decided to use them for other reasons.
To make matters worse, the children were forced to stay inside the kennels on a day when Memphis temperatures peaked at 95 degrees. The children explained how hot it was because the kennels did not have vents. The children were spotted by a concerned citizen who wanted proof of the horrible treatment. That person filmed the children and contacted the Memphis Police Department.
*Warning: This video contains footage that may be offensive to some users. Viewer discretion is advised.*
Shocked and Outraged Neighbors:
Needless to say, neighbors were shocked and outraged for a number of reasons. Despite the news reports that are depicting Cheeks in an unfavorable light, those who know her are shocked because she reportedly doesn’t seem like the type of person capable of such mistreatment toward her own grandchildren. In fact, she’s been described as “a woman of faith and they have always known her to be a very nice lady.” “I’m still shocked. I really can’t see her doing that. She’s such a nice lady. Wow,” neighbor Skylarr Blake said.
Another neighbor offered a different perspective. Based on the footage, he believes something is obviously wrong with Cheeks. “I think she needs some help. Something is going on with her. If she did that, then that’s out of character for her,” neighbor Eugene Richmond told the publication. Another neighbor, Nikita Blade, admitted she felt sorry for the children who were forced to suffer in the smoldering heat. “I’m just so sad for the babies. For them to be in the hot car like that in cages is sad,” Blake said.
The man who recorded the video has also spoken publicly. He’s just “grateful he was in the right place at the right time and hopes this will help more people to speak up when they see wrong things happening.” Luckily, the man did see the children. Sadly, this is the time of year where heatstroke deaths are heightened. In many cases, children are the ones who suffer after being left inside smoldering hot vehicles. According to NoHeatStroke.org, 734 children have died as a result of being left inside hot vehicles with little to no ventilation. Cheeks’ grandchildren also fall right within the age group of children who have died from vehicular heatstrokes.
The children that have died from vehicular heatstroke in the United States (1998-October 2016) have ranged in age from 5 days to 14 years. More than half of the deaths are children under 2 years of age. Below are the percentage of total (695) deaths (and the number of deaths).
Leimome Cheeks has been charged with two counts of child endangerment.