Authorities have dropped felony charges against an Ohio woman accused of letting her three children get severely sunburned but charged her with misdemeanor child endangerment.
Eve Hibbits was arrested and jailed last week in Steubenville, Ohio, on three felony counts of child endangerment, police said.
However, on Wednesday, Hibbits, 31, of Brilliant, Ohio, was released from jail after the charges were downgraded. Hibbits, who pled innocent to the misdemeanor child endangerment charge, told ABCNEWS' Good Morning America today that her eight days in jail were uncalled for and unbearable.
"The jail walls were falling in on me," she said on GMA.
Hibitts' attorney, Shawn Blake, says the mother of three should not have been jailed.
"That was obviously the first time my client was in jail," Blake said on GMA. "It was the first time she was in trouble with the police, in her life, and it was obviously a very difficult time for her, spending these eight days without her children," he said.
On Aug. 13, a deputy noticed Hibbits' 2-year-old daughter and 10-month-old twin boys had severely sunburned faces at the Jefferson County Fair. Hibbits had neglected to apply sunscreen to the children, authorities said.
Jefferson County Sheriff, Fred Abdalla, told Good Morning America Wednesday that the children were treated for second-degree burns at a nearby hospital. "They looked like they had their faces dipped in red paint," Abdalla said.
A spokesperson for Trinity Medical Center West, where the three children were treated with cold compresses, said the burns weren't that bad. "The ones that we usually get here are far worse and include third-degree burns and heat stroke," spokesman Keith Murdock said.
Prosecutor Brian Felmet said the children were not as severely injured as officials had believed, prompting him to dismiss the three felony child endangerment charges.
Hospital officials initially told authorities the children suffered from second-degree burns but later reduced that to first-degree burns, Felmet said.
The one count charge of misdemeanor child endangerment carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Abdalla said the kids had been placed in the custody of a relative while Hibbit was in jail. He did not know if they were placed with their father, who worked as a carnival employee at the fair.
The sheriff said Jefferson County Children's Services had been contacted about Hibbits' children in the past.