This story is heartbreaking, from start to finish. And we don’t just mean because three little children lost their lives in a fire. This story is tragic for everyone involved, including the mother who lost her children and is now facing criminal charges, and her sister who lives with the family and has now lost three little kids she loved. So how did it happen?
29-year-old Amber Swain of Macomb County lived with her adult sister, Lauren Swain, her two sons, 9-year-old Brendon Mahone and his brother, 8-year-old Zyahir Swain, and her niece, 4-year-old Madison Swain. Amber and Lauren shared a car, which they used to get to and from their respective jobs. And that’s what led to this disaster…
Amber and her sister were getting to and from work when it started
On March 10th, 2018, at about 3:30 am, Amber left the three children together in the family’s Eastpointe home to pick up her sister at work, and then go to work herself. She picked up Lauren from her job, drove herself to work, and then Lauren drove the car back to the house where the kids were waiting. But when she arrived home she discovered the house ablaze.
According to neighbors, Lauren immediately called 911 and tried unsuccessfully to get into the house to save the children. Police Officer Mark Barr, who was the first officer on the scene, said that Lauren was near the front porch of the house when he arrived, and was hysterical, yelling that “her babies were inside the house!”
The Judge believed the fire was preventable, had Amber been home
Although Lauren’s attorney says that there was no way she could have anticipated the fire (it was 3:30 in the morning after all, on a day like any other), the Judge disagrees. Judge James Maceroni of the Macomb County Circuit Court pointed out that “The mere act of leaving the children home for that long could be seen as reckless, (which is) the standard for second-degree child abuse.”
The Judge also pointed out that the reports from the fire investigator note that “The fire damage was consistent with a time-frame of over three hours with a smoldering fire within the basement ceiling.” It also states that the fire may have been the result of an electrical issue. Had Amber been home, the Judge points out, she would have had plenty of time to get the children to safety.
Child abuse charges are extremely serious in Michigan!
Lauren has been charged with three counts of Second-Degree Child Abuse, one count for each child who died in the fire. Under Michigan law, Second Degree Child Abuse is a felony punishable by up to ten years in prison. Anyone with this on their criminal record would have a hard time getting a decent job after their release from prison.
At The Kronzek Firm, we can help you with that. We know that there’s always more to a story than meets the eye, and we understand that tragic accidents do sometimes happen, leaving parents devastated and lives changed forever. If you’ve made a mistake that has resulted in child abuse allegations or charges, call 866 766 5245 and talk to our experienced and aggressive child abuse defense attorneys. We’re available 24/7 to help you.