Two Young Boys Died After SUV Rolled Into a Creek While Their Mother Was in the Store; 2-Year-Old Girl Rescued and Mother Arrested and Charged

Raelynn Johnson, 2, was rescued from the SUV. Brothers Rasheed Johnson Jr., 1, and Steve Smith, 4, didn’t survive.

Jenea Payne parked her SUV and walked into a grocery store in western Mississippi over the weekend, leaving her three small children in the vehicle, police say.

By the time she walked back outside, the vehicle was gone — having rolled into a creek across the street.

What followed Saturday evening in the city of Leland was a furious rescue attempt, with the town’s fire chief and others jumping into the water and trying to break into the floating and sinking SUV.

Payne’s 2-year-old daughter was rescued, but her sons — Rasheed Johnson Jr., 1, and Steve Smith, 4 — drowned, Leland police said.

Payne, 25, was arrested and charged Monday with two counts of manslaughter and one count of child neglect, police said. She was released on her own recognizance after an initial court appearance in Washington County, police said.

She was charged “for leaving the children unattended in the vehicle,” Leland police Assistant Chief Marcus Davis told CNN affiliate WAPT in Jackson.

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SOURCE: CNN, Jason Hanna and Tina Burnside