ELYRIA — A Cleveland man indicted on charges of endangering children in connection with an August incident in which five children were discovered in the cargo area of a U-Haul truck has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
Brian Dekam, 55, of Lorain Avenue, was indicted on a felony count of endangering children and three misdemeanor counts of endangering children — along with Jamie Adkins, 26, also of Cleveland — in December.
Through his attorney, a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity was filed on Dekam’s behalf, according to court documents. Dekam’s sanity at the time of the alleged offenses will now be evaluated by the District V Forensic Diagnostic Center in Mansfield and the written reports of the examination should be filed within 30 days, according to court documents.
On Aug. 2, two employees from the city of Elyria discovered five children — who at the time were ages 15, 6, 4, 3 and 2 — in the back of a 10-foot U-Haul box truck at the Speedway gas
station on Lorain Boulevard in Elyria. The children were suffering from fleas, bedbugs and lice, and some had ringworm, according to police.
Police have said Adkins told officers that she and Dekam left for Jamie’s Flea Market in South Amherst at 4:30 a.m. from Cleveland and were on their way back when they stopped at the gas station to fuel up. Adkins also said she is “like a godmother” to the children and that their mother, Kimberly Hull, knew how they were being transported.
The city employees said they were on break about 2 p.m. when they noticed a child in the back of the U-Haul. Dekam closed the door and tried to drive away, but the workers stopped him and asked him to get out of the vehicle.
When Dekam rolled open the back door of the truck, the workers saw the five children and two dogs in the back of the truck. They said the vehicle smelled like “cigarettes and feces” and the youngest child was strapped into a car seat and appeared to be unresponsive and “was bright red as a tomato.”
An employee of Speedway called 911, while one of the city workers ran to the nearby fire station to get help.
Police have said — because of the temperature inside the trailer — that it’s possible the 2-year-old would have not survived the trip back to Cleveland if the two city employees had not stepped in.
Both Dekam and Adkins are free on bond.
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