An Illinois mother has been charged with five counts of felony child endangerment for allegedly leaving her family inside an overheated car that caught fire earlier this month, killing all five children inside.
Temple Baptist Church says Katrina McCormick, 35, was charged in Montgomery County, Ill., on Monday with the care of minors and child endangerment. The church said the children’s parents are devastated by the deaths.
“You could see their grief through their eyes,” pastor J.R. Gardner said Monday. “They had a saying for this, ‘Life is a team game.’”
Police had previously said all five children were in the car when it caught fire, but the church released a statement Monday saying they’d discovered the exact numbers.
McCormick and her husband, Robert, were both taken into custody Monday afternoon. Robert McCormick, 38, was also charged with child endangerment.
The couple has three other children and were celebrating the six-year wedding anniversary. The rest of the children are aged 4 through 15.
After the fire, at least two other children tried to leave the car. They found themselves blocked from escaping by the flames, video obtained by the Chicago Tribune shows.
After finding the children’s parents and trying to break a window with a towel, police officers could be heard saying that the windows were still open.
Police were called to the church parking lot around 10:20 p.m. Sept. 1. The vehicle was fully engulfed in flames and the fire had spread throughout the car.
Three of the children were found dead when firefighters arrived, and the others succumbed to their injuries at a local hospital.