2 Nev. women charged after abandoning children at CAL FIRE station

The children, ages 2 and 4, were left at an Alta station by their grandmother and aunt, who said they were unsafe in their custody


Christine Delianne
The Sacramento Bee

ALTA, Calif. —Sisters from Reno, Nevada, were arrested after authorities said they dropped off two children at a Northern California fire station Tuesday evening with little information before speeding away.

According to the Placer County Sheriff's Office, the women — later identified to be the children's grandmother and aunt — gave a hurried explanation with only basic information about the 2- and 4-year-olds to personnel at a Cal Fire station in Alta. Deputies said the women told firefighters that the children were not safe in their custody, but didn't explain why.

The Cal Fire station, like others fire facilities across the state, do allow for safe surrender of children, but only within three days of birth.

Authorities then began a search for the women's vehicle, a deputy located Chanda Moyee Cleveland, 45, and her sister, Ananda Jai Bowman, 47, at a Roseville gas station that afternoon and arrested them. Also in the car, according to Placer County Sheriff's Office spokesman Lt. Nelson Resendes, was Cleveland's 8-year-old son.

"There are laws on the books that allow for a kid to be dropped off at a safe place, such as an emergency room or a fire station," Resendes said. "But it only applies to kids that are 3 days old or younger. Not 2 and 4 (years old)."

All three children were taken under the care of Placer County Child Protective Services and are in the process of being reunited with family in Washoe County, Resendes said.

Cleveland faces a felony charge of intent to abandon a child while Bowman is facing a misdemeanor charge of willful cruelty to a child. Both women were booked into and released from Placer County jail, according to Sheriff's Office records.

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(c)2021 The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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