Mom Jailed For Ditching Kids For Show

Friends say that Jaclyn Elisse Torrealba, a freshman at Florida International University, was a "smart girl" who was toying with the idea of becoming a lawyer. According to Melissa Saavedra, Torrealba was a hip-hop dancer and cheerleader in high school. "Jackie was such an amazing girl. She always had a smile on her face she was funny, she was a great dancer," she told Crimesider in a Monday phone interview.
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A woman got a 30-day jail sentence for leaving her three young children home alone for several hours while she and her boyfriend attended a videotaping of "The Jerry Springer Show."

Shannon Cook, 25, pleaded guilty earlier this week to misdemeanor child endangerment. She also was placed on probation for a year.

"It was an appropriate sentence, given what she did," said DuPage County Assistant State's Attorney Joseph Ruggiero.

The two girls and one boy, all under the age of 4, have been placed in foster homes by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

Police said Cook left the children alone at a suburban home Oct. 19 while she and her boyfriend went to Chicago for the taping. About five hours later, the two oldest knocked on the door of a neighbor, who called police.

Cook was arrested when she returned home after midnight. According to a police report, she said: "I didn't think I'd be gone that long."

  • Stephen Smith

    Stephen Smith is a senior editor for