Thanks to the fundraising efforts of a woman in New Jersey, a Phoenix mom who was arrested for leaving her kids in a car while she went to a job interview now has more than $91,00o.
35-year-old Shanesha Taylor made headlines last week when she left her 2-year-old son and 6-month-old baby in her car while she was at a job interview. The key was in the ignition and the windows were rolled down about an inch while Taylor was interviewing at a Scottsdale insurance company. Taylor, a homeless single mother, told police she had been unable to find a sitter and was desperate to make it to the interview, according to an Associated Press story.
After her mugshot and story went viral, a young woman in New Jersey decided to step in and help Taylor:
Taylor was arrested after returning to the vehicle, and her tearful mugshot later caught the attention of 24-year-old Amanda Bishop of New Jersey. Bishop said she was inspired to set up a fundraising web page for Taylor because she could relate to growing up in a family that doesn't have a lot of money.
"I had a mother and family in general who struggled raising us and had to rely on other resources to provide for us and sometimes made not the greatest choices," Bishop said.
Bishop established the fundraising site on YouCaring.com with the goal of raising $9,000. She was flabbergasted when the site reached the goal in four days and then exceeded it by tens of thousands of dollars. The site also has received more than a thousand comments, some of which accuse Bishop and other supporters of endorsing child abuse. Bishop said Taylor should not be condemned for one bad decision.
"She could have been at a bar or at a club and leaving her children in the car," said Bishop. "Here's a woman who is an example of someone who is trying — who is trying to better her situation and doing what she can to provide for her children."
Prosecutors have a different perspective on the situation. Police said a witness found the infant crying inside the car crying hysterically and sweating, with temperatures inside the Taylor's car reaching more than 100 degrees.
"Everything is focused on the mother and understandably so. It seems to be a very compelling human interest story," County Attorney Bill Montgomery said at a recent news conference. "But I'm equally concerned and compelled about the circumstances those two children were in."
Montgomery said it's too soon to determine if Taylor will receive a prison term or face losing custody of her children. Her offenses could amount to a sentence ranging from probation to seven years in prison, prosecutors said.
Taylor pleaded not guilty at her arraignment on Monday. She has not commented on the case and has not spoken to the press about the donations she's received.
Image via Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.