The discovery of a van in a ditch along a Cumberland city street has led to three felony charges of child neglect for two rural Cumberland women, Barron County Circuit Court documents said.
Complaints filed Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019, identify the defendants as Annie J. Merrill, 34, 2560 2 9/16 St, and Summer D. Youngbear, 30, 2583 2 1/2 St., both of rural Cumberland.
According to the complaint, shortly after 6:30 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 16, two law enforcement officers were called to a Cumberland intersection. There, they found a van in the ditch alongside Hines Lakeview Drive. The vehicle appeared to have struck some heavy brush. Its lights were on.
A records check showed the van was registered to defendant Youngbear, who was in the passenger seat, the officers later reported.
As the first officer approached, she noticed both the driver and passenger appeared to be sleeping. There was a passenger in the back seat of the van, trying to get the attention of the woman in the passenger seat, later identified as defendant Youngbear.
The officer got the passenger to wake up. She then noticed open containers of beer and vodka in the van. A strong odor of alcohol was detected.
Three children were in the van, ages 2, 4, and 5. Later investigation showed the 2-year-old was the child of defendant Merrill, whom the officers reported was in the driver’s seat. The complaint identified the others as defendant Youngbear’s children.
Defendant Youngbear was allegedly “uncooperative, and wanted (the officer) to leave the children alone. (Youngbear) said she knew she was in Turtle Lake, that the children were fine, and that they were just there to sleep.”
The officer reminded the defendant she was in Cumberland, not Turtle Lake.
Defendant Merrill said she thought they had left Turtle Lake around midnight, but didn’t know how long they’d been there.
The complaint charges Youngbear with two counts of felony child neglect, with a provision that “specified harm (to the child) did not occur.” Defendant Merrill was charged with one count of the same offense. Each count is punishable by up to three and one-half years in prison and/or up to a $10,000 fine.
Records said both defendants are free on $5,000 signature bond pending further court action.