HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- A young mother who was arrested after she, her daughter, and her dog were found sleeping in her car says she is homeless.
Miriah Holmes, 24, was charged with felony child endangerment and animal cruelty, a misdemeanor.
On Tuesday, Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman's Office announced her arrest and said the family was asleep in a "non-running vehicle" and that the girl was "sweating profusely" and "the dog was hyperventilating." The girl, who is 4, and the dog were checked out at the scene and released to her aunt.
Holmes tells a much different story.
She says late Monday night, she went to the McDonald's parking lot on the North Freeway at Richey Road for Wi-Fi access. Her daughter, Cassaura, and their dog were asleep in the back seat. Holmes says she parked, rolled down the windows, and was charging her phone when she fell asleep, too.
Around 1 a.m., deputies were dispatched for a welfare check, and Holmes was arrested.
"I feel like there should be some understanding," she said. "Since March, I've been in my car. My car is my home. My car is my transportation. It's everything. I'm not going to say it's the safest space, but it's been working for now, you know. It's gotten me a little farther than where I've started."
Holmes said she has been doing gig work like food delivery, and she has been receiving government assistance. She said she never left the vehicle. It did not happen during the middle of the day in the hot Houston heat, and there was a breeze. She just fell asleep because she was tired, she says.
"I think this was an overreach. I think she's going through a difficult time and living out of her car, but she certainly had not abandoned her child," Tucker Graves, her court-appointed attorney, said.
Holmes has been declared indigent. She is out of jail on a personal bond, which means she did not have to come up with any money for her release. However, as a bond condition, she cannot have any contact with her daughter, which she says, is the worst kind of punishment.
"She is my everything," Holmes said.
Graves questions why his client was charged, to begin with. Holmes has had to borrow clothes and does not have the money to get her vehicle out of impound.
In a statement to ABC13, the Harris County District Attorney's Office wrote:
"This case is under active investigation. If, at the conclusion of that investigation, it is determined that a pre-trial diversion program or referral to a social service agency is in the best interest of justice, our office will make that determination based on the resulting evidence."
When ABC13 requested additional information from Precinct 4, a spokesperson suggested filing an open records request.
Holmes' next court date is in August.