Latoya Watkins had been driving around all day with her two young sons and daughter in tow when their car started to run low on gas. They stopped at the closest convenience store to fill up, but the mother decided she didn’t want to foot the bill for it. That’s when she devised a way to make her sons pay, and now they hope she never has to get gas again.
After spending the better part of the afternoon buzzing around town doing things she wanted to do and getting in trouble along the way, the 35-year-old mother swung by Casey’s Store — a small town gas station. After she filled her tank, she saw the apparently inconvenient amount she owed for the fuel and decided to use her cash on something else instead, forcing her sons to pay the price.
According to KCCI, Watkins simply drove away from the station and the amount she owed on Thursday, leaving her two boys, ages 8 and 11, behind at the store. Although her intentions behind this plan are not completely clear, it appears that her sons were sort of an IOU assurance that she’s good for the gas since she has to come back for her kids. The problem is, she didn’t come back.
With a full tank of gas and the pocket full of cash she saved by not paying for it, she and her daughter went shopping down the street at Hy-Vee. Watkins told the gas station cashier that she was just going to the store to get cash for her gas and would be right back, but almost two hours passed and she hadn’t returned.
“I’m not a mother, but I wouldn’t leave my kids at a store for almost two hours,” said Ashley Defenbaugh, who is an employee at the Casey’s Store in Jefferson. As the kids played the entire time that they had been abandoned there, the employee became concerned that the mother wasn’t ever going to return and called the police who found the mom about 2.5 hours after she had first left her boys behind.
They found the woman still shopping at the Hy-Vee with her 11-year-old daughter and also learned what else she had done earlier that morning. As part of her day filled with debauchery, Watkins had started the morning out at the casino, where she was soon kicked out and banned from coming back based on being “disorderly and disruptive” at the business.
Watkins was arrested and charged with just two counts of child endangerment when she should have been hit with much more. The mother’s actions this day serve as a substantial warning of worse to come. Although these children weren’t physically hurt by her actions, they were in harms way and shouldn’t have to wait until it’s too late to get into a better living environment. She’s already proven to be incapable of making rational decisions on behalf of her kids, and she is teaching them a lot of bad life lessons along the way.