Two boys, ages 5 and 10, were discovered yesterday to be living inside an unlocked 5-by-10-foot self-storage unit at an Extra Space Storage facility in Ewing Township, N.J. A single mattress piled on top of belongings, along with toys, buckets and some furniture, were also inside the unit. The boys’ mother, Sheena Johnson, 27, was originally arrested yesterday on unrelated charges and subsequently charged with two counts of child endangerment after the boys were found.
The children are now under state care and were taken to a nearby hospital for evaluation. They did not appear to be ill or injured, according to Sgt. John Stemler of the Ewing Police Department.
Police found the children in the unit only after Johnson mentioned the storage facility following her arrest in nearby Trenton for allegedly slashing her boyfriend’s tires. She has been charged with criminal mischief for that incident.
Police did not have a warrant to search the unit, according to the source. Investigators were initially refused entry by site management but were given permission after investigators said children could be in danger, the source reported.
Investigators consider Johnson homeless because she has no current address information, leading to speculation that all three were living inside the unit. Champ Bell, a tenant at the facility, told the source he suspected a family had been living inside a unit for at least five months. Police are investigating whether Extra Space could be at fault for allowing Johnson to rent the space, Stemler said.
“They were living there for some while,” he said.