Two men left a woman to die of a drug overdose in front of her nine children. Our affiliate WKRC reports how responding officers rallied the community to be there for the kids.
Ohio police officers were called to Jimeta Sanders's house Wednesday evening. Police said two men who were friends of hers took her money and left the house, telling her children they were leaving to pick up a 2-liter bottle of soda. Sanders's husband, Andre, said his wife had struggled with addiction for five years after being prescribed opiates for a back injury.
"I'm in shock and disbelief. You never think that it's going to happen to you until it actually happens," Andre said. "My wife loved all of her kids. She was a proud mother and she had a heart of gold. She would literally give you the shirt off her back."
Andre said Jimeta had been doing better with the addiction and relapsed Wednesday night. He was at work when he received the call that she had died.
Middletown Police officers were so upset by what they had found that they posted a plea for donations on the department's Facebook page.
"People always want to say 'well they shouldn't be doing that' and maybe so. But that doesn't change the fact there's nine kids without a mother now," said Middletown Police Chief Rodney Muterspaw.
Erica Fitzgerald and her husband brought toys and clothes to the police department Thursday evening.
"She has a one-year-old girl and we have a two and one-year-old girl so I just thought if I wasn't here tomorrow, the effect it would have on the younger ones especially is drastic," Fitzgerald said.
By Thursday night, a room at the police department was full of toys, clothes and food.
The Sanders children range in age from 14 to one. The donations are a comfort to the family.
"I just want to say thank you to everyone who's donated. We appreciate it more than I could ever even express," Andre said.
Several people have also donated cash to the Sanders family. The Fraternal Order of Police Associates received $9,000 from the Fraternal Order of the Orioles. The police department has received calls from people who want to help from as far away as Texas and California.
Police are still searching for the men who left Jimeta to die. They are described as possibly a father-son duo. Police describe them as two white men. The father had gray hair and facial hair and wore a black and red coat. The son wore a brown jacket and was thin.