YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – An Ohio woman accused of leaving her young daughters alone in a motel room while she worked at a pizza shop has received an outpouring of support on social media — and strong financial backing, too.
Shaina Elizabeth Bell, 24, of Liberty Township, was arrested Feb. 11 and charged with two counts of child endangering and creating risk, according to Trumbull County online booking records. Bell was released Friday.
Bell pleaded not guilty to both counts, WMFJ reported.
“My kids bring me joy. They make me laugh. They’re my world. I would never do anything to harm my kids. My kids are everything to me,” Bell told WKBN on Thursday. “That’s all I do is go to work and take care of my kids. That’s all I do.”
Police said they responded to a tip and found a 10-year-old girl and her 2-year-old sister alone at a Motel 6 in Youngstown after 6 p.m., WMFJ reported. Bell was working at a Little Caesars and was arrested when she returned to the motel several hours later.
Bell told WBKN she was arrested after her children’s father called the police. Bell said she told police that she had someone check on the children hourly, according to the television station.
“I had to go to work. My (10-year-old) daughter decided that she wanted to stay here,” Bell told WKBN. “My daughter told me that this is where she wants to be, and I felt that she was old enough to be able to stay here with her sister for a few hours because my job is right down the street.”
Bell’s mother, Danielle Hosey, started a GoFundMe page for her daughter on Sunday.
“Shaina is a single mother of three young children,” Hosey wrote. “She works hard and she loves her family very much.”
After acknowledging her daughter’s arrest and the charges against her, Hosey wrote that Bell was “in need of immediate housing.”
More than 4,000 people have already donated to the fundraiser, and as of late Thursday more than $129,500 had been pledged.
“A lot of people are saying hurtful things, but a lot of people are also being there for me and showing great support,” Bell told WKBN. “I have over $100,000 in a GoFundMe account right now. I didn’t ask for that, but people gave it to me, and I’m just over appreciative to what’s going on,” Bell said.
According to the GoFundMe page, top donations include $10,000 from Quality Control Records CEO Pierre “Pee” Thomas, and $5,000 from Cleveland Cavaliers center JaVale Mcgee.
Bell said she was embarrassed by the arrest and the national attention it has generated.
“I never set blame on anybody for anything because at the end of the day nobody left my kids in the hotel but me,” Bell told WKBN. “I’ve cried a couple of times since this situation started. I’m just trying to keep a level head and trying to stay strong because that’s all I can do.”
Bell said she planned to use the money to buy a home for herself and her children, the television station reported.
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