According to The St. Louis Post Dispatch, East St. Louis mother, Sabrina M. Dunigan was charged on Wednesday in St. Clair County with five counts of endangering the life or health of a child, a felony charge in the deaths of her five children in an apartment fire in August.
The 34-year-old Dunigan is not in custody yet and the judge set bail at $75,000. Court records show there are pending grand jury actions in the case.
Her father, Greg Dunigan, told The St. Louis Post-Dispatch he can’t believe the authorities would charge her after everything she lost.
“Why are they trying to do this to her?” Greg Dunigan said. “She done lost all she can lose already. Why they want to take the rest away, meaning herself? She don’t have nothing left.”
According to reports, Dunigan, a single mother, drove someone to work early in the morning on Aug. 6. When she returned home, the apartment was on fire and her five children were still inside. She went into the fiery apartment to try to save her children but failed.
Two of her children were found inside a bedroom. The three other children were found on the kitchen floor. Her relatives identified the children as 9-year-old Deontae, 8-year-old twins, Neveah and Heaven, 4-year-old Jabari, and 2-year-old Loy’el.
On Saturday, August 21, Sabrina Dunigan‘s children were buried in custom caskets that featured their pictures, names, and decorations according to their personalities, News Onyx reported.
In Illinois, the crime Dunigan has been charged with can be a misdemeanor, unless it is the second offense or the child dies after being put in danger. She has been charged with five felonies. Each felony count can net her between two to 10 years in prison. A parent who is charged with the crime after the child dies may be sentenced to just probation.