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Arrested for That? Hephzibah Grandma Left Kids in Car While Shopping, Including 13-Year-Old Boy


Harlem police arrested a woman on three felonies Sunday for leaving her grandchildren in a car while she shopped at Dollar General.

This is one of  many stories in this week’s edition of The Jail Report. Pick up your copy today. Cover image:

Meachell Woodard, 57, of Hephzibah, was charged with three felony counts of cruelty to children in the second-degree.

Harlem officials say the woman left the children in the car Sunday evening for about 40 minutes while shopping at the store. It was about 6:30 p.m. Sunday, police said.

The children suffered no injures but were checked out by EMS since the children were left in the vehicle with all the windows rolled up.

The suspect’s daughter, 21-year-old Jazmon Woodard, said the arrest was an over-reaction by Harlem police. She said the children are ages 13, 10 and 4, and they wanted to stay in the car after wearing themselves out while playing on a farm.

“They were sweating before they even stopped,” Jazmon Woodard said. “They was playing outside on the farm, running, doing what children love to do. They didn’t want to go inside the store because they were exhausted. My mother is very loving. She wouldn’t hurt a fly.”

She said the arrest is crazy for her mother, who she described as a retired Army veteran of 36 years who has nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Jazzman Woodward said her mother has always tried to take her grandchildren to different locations to get them to enjoy the “outside world,” and she was doing that Sunday.

When the suspect stopped at Dollar General, she was shopping for food and drinks for the children. Two men apparently called police after seeing the children alone.

Now, Meachell Woodard has a restraining order that prevents her from seeing the children, according to her daughter. The suspect was released from jail Monday on bond.

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Greg Rickabaugh
Greg Rickabaugh
Greg Rickabaugh is an award-winning crime reporter in the Augusta-Aiken area with experience writing for The Augusta Chronicle, The Augusta Press and serving as publisher of The Jail Report. Rickabaugh is a 1994 graduate of the University of South Carolina and has appeared on several crime documentaries on the Investigation Discovery channel.


  1. They are 13 and 11 they are big enough to stay in car for a little bit. They no how to turn on swotch to let windows down or even open doors. Yyou his world is fetring redicolus. I understand if they was all lite on carseats and stuff but they was a teenager and 11 and 4 .

  2. Who called to report this? Shame on them ! The kids are old enough to stay in the car while their grandmother shopped. I bet the kids were scared to death seeing her being arrested. Shame on Harlem police as well. They should be out there arresting serious offenders.

  3. I am an advocate for children’s rights and have the utmost concern for their well-being. My first question is; “By Georgia law, how old does a child have to be to babysit?” If 13 is old enough, I cannot even see a crime. My seven year old grandson knows how to roll down his own window even if it is locked! He would just unlock it. Let’s don’t waste our time on this type of incident when children are dying every day. Law enforcement and DFACS are known going after parents for minor issues while ignoring the elephant in the room.

  4. This is utterly ridiculous. The 13 y/o is sane enough to watch the sister and brother. This is just BS. Latched key kids can stay home alone at 13 without an adult nearby. They were certainly not left alone. And the two idiots that called the police, just probably threw them off a real crime.

  5. Hey Harlem. With all the negative publicity LEO’s are going through throughout the country, wouldn’t you have the fore thought to see that your arrest in this case is unwarranted? I can’t wait to hear about her day in court. I hope she lawyer’s up and sues the crap out of you.

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