Mom charged following death of 3 kids

January 9, 2009 3:14:56 PM PST
The mother of three young children killed earlier this week in a South Side fire has now been charged with endangerment. Twenty-four-year-old Charlene Cheatem is charged with three counts of child endangerment.

The fire in the three-flat at 83rd and Buffalo Wednesday killed 7-month-old Jimmy Gates, his 2-year-old brother Tyrel and their 3-year-old sister Sharell. Authorities say their bodies were found in a top-floor bedroom where the flames broke out.

Another brother remained hospitalized Friday at University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital. Authorities say an investigation into the cause of the fire continues.

Cheatem made it out alive because she waselsewhere in the building. She will be in bond court Friday.

Authorities say Cheatem has admitted to leaving her children alone in the apartment. Police spokeswoman Officer Laura Kubiak said Friday Cheatem had taken an older daughter to school that morning and then went to visit a sick uncle who lived nearby.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.