House fire leads to child endangerment charges

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A fire at a residence in Wake Village, Texas, in May has led to a three-count, child endangerment indictment for a local woman.

Latasha Bannister, 38, allegedly left her three children, ages 10, 6 and 3 years, alone May 30 at her home on Burma Street in Wake Village. Neighbors called 911 when they noticed smoke coming from the house and the three children refused to open the front door, according to a probable cause affidavit.

“After seeing smoke throughout the residence, officers and firemen made entry into the residence,” the affidavit states.

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The emergency responders helped the children safely out of the house and took them to the Wake Village police station. The oldest of the children reportedly told officers Bannister was at church. Bannister did not answer her phone when officers attempted to reach her at the number provided by the 10-year-old. After leaving three voice messages for Bannister, officers released the kids to an adult cousin.

At 10:20 p.m., about two hours after the call reporting a fire was made, Bannister showed up at the police station looking for her children. Bannister allegedly claimed that she and a male companion had locked themselves out of their car during a stop at the store. But neither Bannister nor her companion could tell officers where they’d been locked out.

“The three children were all under age 15. They were left in a residence unattended and the house caught fire,” the affidavit states. “There was a phone in the house, however the officers could not even reach the mother when there was an emergency.”

Bannister was indicted Thursday by a Bowie County grand jury for three counts of child endangerment. She faces six months to two years in a state jail if convicted.

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