ELYRIA — A Cleveland man accused of traveling with five children in the cargo area of a U-Haul truck has pleaded guilty to endangering children and has been sentenced to probation.
Brian Dekam, 56, of Lorain Avenue, pleaded guilty to a felony count of endangering children and three misdemeanor counts of endangering children Wednesday before Judge Raymond Ewers. Dekam was sentenced to one year basic community control.
Prior to pleading guilty, Dekam withdrew a motion to plead not guilty by reason of insanity, which was filed on his behalf in March, and a competency motion.
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.
Jamie Adkins, 26, also of Cleveland, was arrested along with Dekam and indicted on the same charges.
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 were on a break about 2 p.m. the day of the incident when they saw a child in the back of the U-Haul. Dekam closed the door and tried to drive away, but the city employees stopped him and asked him to open the door of the vehicle.
When he did, the workers saw five children and two dogs in the back of the truck. They said the vehicle smelled like “cigarettes and feces” and the 2-year-old was strapped in a car seat and appeared to be unresponsive and “was bright red as a tomato.”
Police have said — because of the temperature inside the trailer — that it’s possible the 2-year-old would not have survived the trip back to Cleveland had the city employees had not stepped in.
Adkins filed a motion to plead not guilty by reason of insanity last month. She is next scheduled to appear in court May 30.
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