Two Arizona residents admitted Thursday morning to driving a car to Casper with children in the trunk. Law enforcement say the two children were in the trunk for much of the more than 900-mile drive while German shepherds sat in the car’s back seat.
Michael J. Fee, 63, of Peoria, and Amber L. Freudenstein, 31, of Tempe, pleaded guilty in Natrona County Circuit Court to two counts each of misdemeanor child endangering. They will serve 30 days in jail.
Neither Fee nor Freudenstein mentioned the dogs when they entered their pleas. Fee said there was not enough room for everyone in the car so the children were relegated to the trunk.
“I tried to make things as safe as I could for them,” he said. “It wasn’t anything malicious.”
According to court documents filed in the case, a Natrona County sheriff’s deputy spoke Wednesday with a third party who told the deputy the children, born in 2008 and 2012, said they rode in the trunk from Arizona to Wyoming. Fee and Freudenstein planned to travel back to Arizona on Thursday, the third party said.
When a sheriff’s investigator spoke to Freudenstein, she said the children were placed in the trunk in Arizona so the dogs could ride in the back seat, the documents state. One of the children got out of the trunk in Utah and rode on the front passenger floorboards while the other remained in the trunk the rest of the way to Casper. She planned to travel back to Arizona with three different children and the two dogs, according to the documents.
In a separate interview, Fee told the investigator a story consistent with Freudenstein’s.