Free-Range Kids

Mom Sues TV Station for Falsely Claiming She Left Kids in Hot Car

I'm glad this mama is shaming the haters back.

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Camera phone
Caleb / Flickr

We seem to be at the height of kids-in-cars hysteria, with emergency personnel breaking car windows to save dolls and vigilantes filming mothers they have deemed monsters for letting kids wait out short errands in cars. Recently, another such video aired on KHOU in Houston. The network's storyline: A mom by the name of Araceli Cisneros left her kids in the car to wither and perhaps die while she gallivanted off to get a haircut. An eyewitness filmed the negligence on a cell phone camera.

A few hours later, the station changed its report. In actuality, the mom had accidentally locked her kids in the car with her keys and had been frantically trying to get them out, not getting her hair done.

The mommy wasn't evil. In fact, she was "frantically calling for help," the entire time, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Now Cisneros is suing the TV station for $200,000 for not checking its facts. She fears for her family after the story went viral: nationally syndicated TV personality Nancy Grace even picked it up, calling Cisneros an unfit mother. As reports the Houston Chronicle:

"As a result of KHOU's objectively false news report, Cisneros feared that she would be subject to prosecution for leaving her children in a locked car," the suit alleges. "Based on the public's response to the article … Cisneros also feared for the safety of herself and her family."

An editor's note since added to the story on the KHOU website says, "The witness who shot the cell phone video was mistaken when he thought the mother left the children in the car while she got a haircut. We have removed that part of the story."

The note goes on to confirm Cisneros' story. "The mother accidentally locked her keys in the car and recruited other witnesses to help smash the window," the editor's note says.

In a world where everyone—bystanders, the media, and the people watching the media—are all eager to leap to the worst-case scenario, it's not surprising that the story aired as another tale of a mother who put her own needs first and ignored her kids.

free-range-kids

There's nothing America loves more at this moment than mama-shaming, which I declare my new word of the month. I'm glad this mama is shaming the haters back.

NEXT: Meet a Town That's Had Enough of Militarized Policing

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  1. Yesterday, I walked past a car with a kid in it.

    I did not call the police. That probably makes me an accessory to attempted murder.

    1. You, sir, are worse than Hitler! But not worse than Nikki.

    2. You should have broken a window, and taken the kid to child protective services.

      Oh, wait, that’s kidnapping. Just call 911.

      1. That’s right – leave the kidnapping to the professionals!

  2. An editor’s note since added to the story on the KHOU website says, “The witness who shot the cell phone video was mistaken when he thought the mother left the children in the car while she got a haircut. We have removed that part of the story.”

    Or maybe the TV news operation is 100% staffed by arrogant, lazy pieces of shit.

  3. This is purely antecedal, but nearly every local new story that I’ve known something about personally or knew the person involved butchered roughly 75% of the “facts”. Lord knows why I continue to read national stories and expect differently.

    1. Anecdotal.

      Same experience for me.

      1. Me too. Another anecdote.

    2. Lord knows why I continue to read national stories and expect differently.

      Give up news, like I did. In its place, read only blogs that amuse you. Embrace bias, wit, and invective-filled commentary over a silly illusion of objectivity. The latter does not exist.

      We only read the news because others expect us to. They think we are lazy and uninformed if we do not. Who gives a fuck? None of them can force me to do anything, let alone pretend that humans can communicate facts without bias and other flaw.

      I haven’t read the news for years, and my life is no worse in any way. Most of these stories bear no impact on us whatsoever, and the few that do will happen to us one way or the other. Every second of your life is precious. Don’t waste any on something worthless like news.

  4. Now Cisneros is suing the TV station for $200,000 for not checking its facts.

    The best educational opportunities for idiots are the expensive ones.

    1. KHOU would be better served to air an update, with apology and warning about not believing KHOU.

  5. nationally syndicated TV personality Nancy Grace even picked it up, calling Cisneros an unfit mother.

    If anybody deserves to have a piano dropped on her from a great height, Nancy Grace would be an excellent candidate.

    1. Yeah. She deserves the old Tom n’ Jerry.

    2. That cunt needs a big fat libel suit as well.

    3. Fruit, tree, not falling far, etc..

    4. Let’s add Nancy to the lawsuit.

      And a zero to the claim for damages.

    5. Nancy Grace never disappoints.

    6. Allow me to suggest an Acme anvil – a piano might break on her fat head.

  6. Second Degree Gallivanting with Intent to Hobnob. Intenstinate her!

  7. So…dude thought it was more humane to record a video of the kids and send it to a news station than to attempt to free the children?

    1. Just doing my part and ratting out my fellow man to the authorities.

      You know who else favored the population reporting on each other?

  8. Good. $200k isn’t enough.

    These media fuckers are going to turn people’s lives upside down they better damned well have their fucking facts straight.

    MOAR media lawsuits pleez!

    Too bad these motherfuckers no longer go after the government with such zeal.

    1. But they sure do fellate the government with the same zeal – that’s just as good, right?

  9. I read these articles and I admit they just feel unreal. It’s hard for me to wrap my mind around them no matter how certain I am as to their veracity. I think back to my childhood and try to imagine what the various nannies and busybodys of our brave modern nation would do in response to the horrible suffering that I obviously endured walking to school, waiting in the car with a book, going to the range with my uncle, playing army in the woods with my friends. I never knew I was so badly mistreated.

    1. Now you know. And knowing is half the battle.

      GI Joe!

    2. I know a lawyer who could help sue your unfit parents.

    3. I think back to my childhood, and imagine the asskicking I would have unleashed upon the various nannies and busybodies and Gladys Kravitzes.

      I used to watch “Bewitched.” I know all about Gladys Kravitz. . .

  10. “The witness who shot the cell phone video was mistaken when he thought the mother left the children in the car while she got a haircut….

    If you see something, say something. Even if it is wrong. Sue him too.

    He said one guy used a hammer to shatter the glass.

    And even then they could barely open the doors because there was a child lock on, he said. Kids were in the crying.

    It looks like a soft top jeep, don’t people carry knives anymore??

    1. It looked to me like a hard topped jeep.

      But anyway, how young were these kids that they couldn’t unlock the doors?

      1. Ever hear about the band that accidentally locked their keys in the car? It took them hours to get the drummer out.

      2. The kids were almost certainly upset at all the strangers kicking up such a fuss. I say sue them for child endangerment.

    2. …don’t people carry knives anymore??

      In Britain those are called offensive weapons.

  11. My friend had his house shown on the news when they were doing a story about a local child molester. The molester used to live there, but had moved away years ago.

    He called and complained, but nothing came of it. It made for some good jokes around the office at least.

  12. A meter maid once “warned” me about leaving my two kids in the car while I stepped about 20 feet away to get coffee. It was not hot, they were both strapped in to child seats, and I could see the car the whole time.

    I told her she should actually look up the California statute which states that it is a violation only if there is a reasonable belief that harm could come to the child. I told here there was no such risk. She state “just being in a car is dangerous, someone could hit it”. I noted that someone could hit my car if I was in it too, and they could also be hit if they were out of the car. In fact, they were probably much safer inside the car with their seatbelts on than anywhere else on the street. I suggested again that she look up the statute and left.

    1. In Texas it’s the “5-minute rule”: you can leave kids in a car unattended for up to five minutes without penalty.

      1. The perfect corollary to the 5-second rule.

    2. Well done.

      Some LEO (are meter maids officially LEO?) simply think they’re job is to find ways to get people in trouble.

  13. Will Nancy Grace get sued, too?

    1. We can only hope.

  14. Why couldn’t the kids just unlock the doors themselves?

    Oh wait … fucking CHILD SAFETY LOCKS, THAT’S WHY!!!!

  15. “EDITOR’S NOTE: The witness who shot the cell phone video was mistaken when he thought the mother left the children in the car while she got a haircut. We have removed that part of the story. The mother accidentally locked her keys in the car and recruited other witnesses to help smash the window open.”

    Other than that, our story was correct!

    By the way, I checked Nancy Grace’s Web site but could find no reference to Araceli Cisneros. One might think an apology would be in order, no?

    If I were a vulgar person, I’d say I wouldn’t [bleep] Nancy Grace with Hillary Clinton’s [bleep].

  16. Hard to believe breaking the windows was good for the children’s safety.

    1. There’s windows all over the car, ya know. Someone could just smash the driver’s side, open the door and unlock the other doors.

  17. “The mommy wasn’t evil. In fact, she was “frantically calling for help,” the entire time, according to the Houston Chronicle.”

    Here is a free hint FWIW:

    There is no need to “frantically” call for help.

    Call 911. Ask for “Fire Department”. Explain the scenario to the dispatcher and ask for a Fire Truck to assist you in opening the car. They generally arrive faster than any other responder, they have all kinds of killer tools, and they are trained to handle any medical complications.

    It doesn’t need to be said here, but:
    DO NOT ASK FOR THE POLICE.

  18. Remember the press never let’s the fact get in the way of a story. If they did most politicians would never be re-elected.

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  20. I wished she’d sue that toxic Nancy Grace while she’s at it!

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