Police: Mississippi mom ate at Waffle House with children locked in U-Haul

LAUREL, Miss. — A Mississippi woman and her companion ate at a Waffle House while her two teen daughters were locked in the back of a U-Haul, authorities said.

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Kishawna Jackson, 34, of Laurel, and Zachary Combest, 31, of Gulfport, were each charged with felony child endangerment, according to Jones County Sheriff’s Office online booking records.

According to the Laurel Police Department, Jackson was eating at a Waffle House in Laurel on Wednesday while the two girls -- ages 12 and 16 -- were in the back of a U-Haul van, the Laurel Leader-Call reported. The older child had special needs and is reportedly autistic, police said.

“I don’t know what would possess an adult to place two children in the back of a locked van while they go enjoy a meal,” Laurel Police Department Chief Tommy Cox told the newspaper. “It’s unfathomable.”

Area residents alerted authorities about the two girls Wednesday evening, and police arrived to find Combest sitting in the front of the vehicle, the newspaper reported. Police then entered the back of the van and discovered the two girls. There was no ventilation in the vehicle, according to the Leader-Call.

Jackson said during her initial appearance that both children were hers.

Police observed blankets and a mattress in the back of the van, the Leader-Call reported. Combest told police the children had been in the back of the van, but “not for a long period of time,” according to an arrest affidavit.

Combest told officers that Jackson was inside a nearby Rodeway Inn, located next to the Waffle House, and had the keys to the U-Haul, according to the affidavit.

Child Protective Services took the children into custody, the Leader-Call reported. Police took Jackson and Combest into custody.

They were appointed public defenders, the newspaper reported.

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