Maryland mother charged with child neglect after accused of abandoning children in minivan

- A Silver Spring woman has been charged with neglect and leaving children in a confined space for an incident that took place last December.

According to the incident report from Takoma Park police, 36-year-old Sheri Marshall got into an argument with her 12-year-old son and kicked him out of their minivan along the Beltway. He was able to contact relatives and get picked up, but Marshall then continued to drive with the rest of her nine children, between the ages of 1 and 11, until the car ran out of gas along East-West Highway in Takoma Park. 

When the kids later woke up in the minivan, they had been apparently abandoned by their mother, and the children ended up walking up the street to La Chiquita Restaurant. The staff gave them a free meal and called police. When officers arrived, they say the children had soiled pants and were extremely hungry.

Marshall was later found wandering through traffic nearby on New Hampshire Avenue. According to police, she was under high influence of illegal drugs.

She was finally charged in the case last week with nine counts of child neglect and nine counts of leaving a child unattended. She is due in court next month.

Why did it take 10 months for charges to be filed? Police said they worked to make sure all 10 of the children were placed with various family members. Then they each had to be interviewed.

They said it took some time to get through a lot of red tape to nail down exactly which charges to bring against the mother.

In the meantime, Marshall has been in court trying to get her children back.

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