A woman accused of endangering her 13-year-old son has had her case dismissed by a judge in Texas.
Sarah Beam, aged 41, was arrested last week for allegedly forcing her son into the trunk of her car on 3 January. She had attended a drive-thru Covid testing site at Pridgeon Stadium in Houston, Texas, when she allegedly told a health director that her teenage son was inside the trunk.
Charging documents seen by NBC News said she wanted her son to take another test after he tested positive for Covid that day. Police were, however, called to the site and an arrest warrant was later issued.
A judge ruled on Thursday that he had no probable cause for charging Ms Beam with endangerment, and she was dismissed from the court – although she could still be charged.
A spokesperson for the Harris County district attorney told reporters that “we absolutely respect the judge’s ruling”, but that it would consider evidence against the mother and teacher.
“We will review all the evidence gathered by police and make a determination on how to proceed,” said the spokesperson, “including the possibility of presenting this case to a grand jury, so that representatives of the people of Harris County can decide whether a criminal charge is appropriate”.
Ms Beam, who was released on a $1,500 (£1,096) bond last week, remains on administrative leave from the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District, an area northwest of central Houston.
The school district has been plagued by controversy of late, with a commissioner incorrectly blaming high dropout rates on Black teachers.
Scott Henry said in an apparent apology that there ”have been threats upon my life, and my wife and my children have been targeted” because he “dared to disagree that it equates to high retention rates”.
“I will take responsibility for not saying it more eloquently,” he added, according to ABC Houston.
A neighbour of Ms Beam meanwhile told local news station KPRC: “I think she needs to be held accountable if she put a kid in a trunk. I have a problem with that.”
An attorney for Ms Beam could not be reached, and The Independent has approached the school district for comment.