Mother who left kids in van while at work sentenced to jail time
The mother who left her children in a van in a McDonald's parking lot while she went to work next door was sentenced Wednesday.
Pennie Cates was sentenced to 90 days in jail but will be credited with the 72 she has already served, meaning she will spend an additional 18 days in jail.
Cates will also face $515 in fines, a two-year probation and will have to cooperate with counseling and parenting rehabilitation as set by the Probate Court.
Cates had previously pleaded guilty to two counts of leaving a child in a motor vehicle and two counts of fourth degree child abuse.
According to the Cadillac Police Department, employees at the McDonald's on M-115 in Cadillac noticed a van in their parking lot with hazard lights on. When they went outside to check on it, they noticed four young children inside the van. They immediately called police.
Officers arrived to find two 7-year-old boys, a 2-year-old girl and a 1-year-old girl unattended in the van.
Police determined that Cates was working at the Subway restaurant next door. They estimated the children had been unattended in the van for over 7 hours.
The children told investigators that this type of situation had happened at least three other times.
"They were also basically soaked in urine because they had not left the vehicle that entire day," said Lt. Todd Golnick from the Cadillac Police Department.
The children were turned over to the care of Cates' sister after the arrest.