SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - Tuesday, she was arrested. 23-year-old Jeronda Wilson was separated from her children and charged with abuse and neglect, reckless disregard, and cruelty.
Suffolk police arrested Wilson after they found her two children behind the locked door of a trailer in what officers described as "appalling conditions."
The officers heard the children's cries coming from the camper while they were serving a search warrant related to a gang initiation.
Thursday in jail, Wilson had much time to think. She spoke only with WAVY News' Andy Fox while choking back broken sobs.
"I miss my kids. Since they were born, I have never been a day without one of my kids," said Wilson, who is a single mom. "If you only knew how hard I had to fight to get to where I am now, and to have it all taken away, it just hurts, it hurts."
Wilson lost her two-year-old daughter and six-month-old son. She has lost her dreams and her freedom.
"When I get done with this, I won't have a life. I won't have my kids," she said.
On Tuesday when Suffolk police found the two children, they had to force entry into the camper.
"My main concern was the kids were locked inside the trailer," Wilson said. "I said to police, 'what do you mean they were locked inside the trailer?' They said, 'they were locked in.' They were not locked in when I left."
Wilson had gone to the store to get cigarettes with her boyfriend, who lives in the camper. Wilson said she only visits his residence and lives in an apartment of her own in Newport News. The children were left in the care of her boyfriend's roommate Laron Huston Neal, 22, who was also arrested Tuesday. When she returned, the police were taking away the children.
"Then they started taking my kids out of the trailer, and when they took the kids out of the trailer, I kept asking 'What's going on? What's going on? I need to see my kids'," Wilson said.
Police arrested Wilson because the children were inside with windows closed, no AC, and electricity from a power cord running from a nearby house, and no running water. The property was condemned after her arrest.
"I don't know if the water works because, as I told the detectives, I never use the water. I don't give my kids tap water. I don't give my kids tap water, period. I always buy them water."
Wilson said she knows how bad her situation looks, but claimed she's a good mother who temporarily left her children in unacceptable conditions.
Wilson said she met her boyfriend a month ago. Since then, she and the children have spent the night there one night on three of her visits to his trailer, and three nights on the latest visit when she was arrested.
Wilson remains incarcerated at the Western Tidewater Regional Jail without bond, along with Neal.
"I love the career I wanted, and I won't have that," said Wilson. "I won't have my kids, I won't have an apartment, I won't have anything."
Kimberly Shelton, a woman who was wanted for gang activity at the trailer, will be back in court in July. Her arrest was separate from what police arrested Wilson and Neal for.
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