SHELBY TOWNSHIP (WXYZ) — A Shelby Township woman who was upset that her roommate had not returned home by 5 p.m., locked the roommate's children in her garage and left.
The woman admitted to police that she locked the children, a 4-year-old boy and a 9-year-old girl, in the garage and told the girl that her mom would be home in a few minutes to let them out of the garage.
"I freaked out and called the cops," said the children's mother, Regina Gittings, who said her roommate was upset because she was running a few minutes late getting home and her son accidentally urinated on the roommate's bed.
Gittings said the only reason her son may have gone to the bathroom on himself is because he was terrified. Her daughter told her that the 29-year-old roommate yelled at her son because he was in her room.
Gittings said she was struggling to find a place for her and her children to live, and they moved in with the woman, a family friend, a little over a month ago. Gittings said she paid the woman $900 and that would have been their monthly rent to live at the house the woman was already renting from someone else.
"I didn't expect her to treat two children like that because she was angry over an accident from a 4-year-old," Gittings told 7 Action News.
Police were quick to arrive and recover the children from the garage just a few minutes before Gittings pulled up herself.
"Both children were exposed to potentially harmful items in the garage," an officer wrote in the police report. "The temperature was approximately 75 degrees and the garage was stuffy with no air movement."
Police said both children were scared and the boy was naked.
The roommate was reportedly upset about her bed and that Gittings was not home at 5 p.m. The roommate didn't want to be charged a late fee for picking her own son up from daycare.
Gittings said she told the woman she was stuck in traffic and would be there shortly, but then she got this text right at 5 p.m.: "I'm putting your kids in my garage now."
When police later talked to the roommate, they said she "repeatedly asserted that she felt the garage was the safest place to leave the children and that a series of frustrating events is what led her to that decision," according to the police report.
In a text to her roommate, Gittings told the woman that she endangered her children and that they would be moving out.
The roommate replied, telling Gittings that she was "irresponsible" for not returning home in time.
"Your kids were safe," the roommate wrote in a text. "I live in Shelby (expletive) Township. My garage door is closed and it's not 150° outside so don't you dare even go there with me."
The roommate was questioned by Shelby Township police and investigators said they have forwarded the case to prosecutors for review.
Gittings and her children are now staying with a relative for 30 days in restricted housing as she tries to find another place for them to live.