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Probation for mom who sent kids for food, abandoned them

Updated: March 26, 2013 11:02PM



Lake Superior Court Judge Diane Ross Boswell sentenced a Gary woman to three years on probation for neglect of a dependent after she admitted she abandoned two of her children after sending them across a busy highway for food.

Latina Tawanda Pearce, 33, who also lists address in Minneapolis, Minn., and Kankakee, Ill., admitted in court that on Feb. 9, 2010, she sent two of her 10 children, ages 13 and 12, across 11 lanes of traffic on U.S. 30 in Merrillville. When the children returned to motel where they were staying, Pearce had loaded up her other children and returned to Minneapolis. Pearce admitted she abandoned her children without adequate food for about two days and did not answer calls to her cell phone from her children during that time.

“My client actually is a good mother,” defense attorney Patricia Beecher said, adding that Pearce had not had an easy life in part because she became a mother at a young age, which Beecher attributed to a lack of supervision by her parents.

Pearce is working, has regained custody of her children and has no violent crimes in her background.

The plea agreement outlined the sentence and called for dismissal of two additional counts of neglect of a dependent, both class D felonies punishable by up to three years in prison.



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