A homeless single mom, who was thrown in jail for leaving her two young children in a car so she could attend a job interview, has been released on bail pending trial in the early hours Monday morning.
Shanesha Taylor, 35, of Scottsdale, Arizona, was thrust into the media spotlight following reports she left her 6-month-old and 2-year-old inside a Dodge Durango while seeking work at an insurance company.
A passerby spotted the children and when Taylor returned some 45 minutes later she was arrested on felony abuse charges. The distraught mom told officers she was homeless and didn’t have anyone to watch her kids.
According to reports, the vehicle was parked directly in the sun, with the engine off, the doors closed and each of the four windows were only slightly open. Taylor had hoped her kids would nap during her interview.
“She was upset,” said Scottsdale Police Sergeant Mark Clark in an interview with a local station, referring to Taylor’s arrest on March 20. “This is a sad situation all around. She said she was homeless. She needed the job. Obviously not getting the job. So it’s just a sad situation.”
“Unfortunately this individual was in a Catch-22 situation,” said Janet Gallinati of the international non-profit, Parents Without Partners, which supports single parents and their children. “She was homeless and trying to find a job. Yet she didn’t have the people to help her or connections to help her make better choices.”
Despite the seriousness of Taylor’s alleged crime, the mom of two has received an outpouring of compassion on blogs, news sites and social media. Many have commented that she is a victim of circumstance.
Amanda Bishop, 24, who has never met Taylor, was so moved by her story she launched an online fundraising drive on her behalf. So far around $66,000 has been raised.
The funds will be used for “legal fees, care for her children and bettering Taylor’s situation, including accommodation,” said Bishop, who admits to having her own struggles to make ends met.
Bishop said she decided to help after she looked at Taylor’s Facebook page, which clearly showed a mother devoted to her children who made a “terrible mistake.”
“It’s not like Shanesha was out drinking and partying,” said Bishop. “She was trying to better her situation. She was trying to get a job. She was trying to get herself out of the rut that she was in.”
“The story underscores the desperate situations parents, especially single moms in poverty, are forced into to make ends met, ” she added. “What’s wrong with the picture here? Is it wrong that she was put in a position to make that decision or is it wrong that so many people are even in this position to begin with?”
“I don’t know anything about this woman’s mental health history, if any, but assuming she does not have one, this is my theory,” said New York psychologist Dr. Jeff Gardere. “She was homeless, unemployed and desperate.”
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