from the Marion Superior Court The Honorable Kurt Eisgruber,
Judge Trial Court Cause No. 49G01-1403-FC-14835
Attorney for Appellant David Becsey Zeigler Cohen & Koch
Attorneys for Appellee Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General
of Indiana Laura R. Anderson Deputy Attorney General
Tanesha McGowan appeals her convictions for three counts of
neglect of a dependent as class C felonies. She raises one
issue which we revise and restate as whether the evidence is
sufficient to sustain her convictions. We affirm.
and Procedural History
James Loynes was the father of T.L., J.L., and J.L.J.R. After
the mother of T.L., J.L., and J.L.J.R died in Atlanta,
Georgia, in 2008, T.L., J.L., and J.L.J.R., began living with
Loynes who moved to Atlanta with his girlfriend McGowan and
McGowan's child D.A. At some point, McGowan gave birth to
K.L. While living in Georgia, McGowan helped take care of
T.L. J.L., J.L.J.R., K.L., and D.A. McGowan cooked, enrolled
the children in school, transported them to school, and
assumed a "kind of a parent-like role." Transcript
Volume II at 108.
In 2011, Loynes, McGowan, and the children moved to Indiana
and initially lived in the house of McGowan's sister in
Indianapolis. McGowan continued to cook for the children and
transport them to school. Indianapolis Metropolitan Police
Detective Christopher Lawrence testified that all of the
children were under eighteen years old between 2011 to 2013.
At this residence, J.L.J.R. observed marijuana in the house.
J.L. observed marijuana and a white crystalline substance
packaged in clear bags out in the open sometimes, T.L.,
J.L.J.R., K.L., and D.A. around cocaine, McGowan around the
drugs, McGowan accept money for drugs, and the cooking or
making of drugs in the kitchen when McGowan and the children
were around. Before and after school, McGowan took the
children to trap houses. J.L. would sometimes go into the trap
houses with other children and McGowan and observe drugs and
money on tables, and McGowan would take money if Loynes was
not present. J.L. observed McGowan exchange cocaine or pills
for money while taking him to school or picking the children
up from school.
McGowan, Loynes, and the children then stayed in hotels, and
McGowan and Loynes would be gone from the hotel for
"[s]ometime hours, sometime days, " and the
children stayed at the hotel by themselves. Id. at
19. At that time, J.L., the oldest of the children, was
thirteen years old. McGowan would say that she and Loynes
were going to a trap house, which T.L. thought meant a drug
house. T.L. saw guns on Loynes and sometimes under the
"beds and stuff" where T.L. could access them.
McGowan, Loynes, and the children eventually moved to a house
near 29th Street. T.L. observed marijuana and
cocaine or crack in the house. She also observed Loynes
making crack in the kitchen and placing the crack on a scale
in the kitchen when the other children and McGowan were in
the house. Family members and friends would visit and smoke
marijuana. J.L.J.R. Observed "white stuff" in a
Ziplock bag or pill bottle that Loynes sold. Id. at
75. McGowan was present when these exchanges occurred inside
the house. J.L. observed marijuana, cocaine, and crack
cocaine out in the open in the living room. J.L. also
observed Loynes exchange drugs and McGowan accept money for
drugs when the children were in the room or in an area where
they could potentially see the exchanges occur. T.L. observed
long guns and shotguns behind "stuff, like chairs or TVs
or something, " while the children were present.
Id. at 24. J.L.J.R. observed a revolver and a
shotgun in the house. While they were residing in the house
near 29th Street, J.L.J.R. found a shotgun under a
chair, picked it up, pulled the trigger by accident, and shot
it through the floor when McGowan and Loynes were not home.
During this time, McGowan would also bring the children along
while she was on her way to a trap house, enter the house or
stop at the door of the house, and return to the car where
the children were present.
At some point, they moved to a residence on King or
Livingston. T.L. observed marijuana in the house, J.L.J.R.
observed Loynes sell pills for money, and J.L. observed drug
dealing when the children and McGowan were around. They then
moved to a house on Temple where T.L. observed marijuana,
cocaine or crack "laying around" and packaged in
bags. Id. at 29. T.L. observed Loynes handle the
crack or cocaine and sell drugs inside and outside of the
house. Loynes or McGowan would allow the person purchasing
drugs into the house. McGowan was present when the drug sales
occurred, and the drug sales occurred "[a]ll the
time." Id. at 31. Loynes was "the main
person" selling the drugs, but "if he was like,
'Give this to them, ' then [McGowan] would."
Id. at 32. McGowan would take money from the people
buying drugs when Loynes was home and when he was gone. J.L.
observed drug dealing at this house, and the children were
exposed to this activity. He saw drugs in the living room on
the television stand. J.L. also observed the making or
cooking of crack cocaine, McGowan was "around to see
this happen, " and the children were exposed to it as
well. Id. at 126. J.L. would do the dishes and would
have to clean some of the white residue off the dishes. At
some point, McGowan and/or Loynes went through J.L.'s
clothes in a closet looking for marijuana because they had
stored it in his clothes for some reason.
While McGowan was present, Loynes told T.L. and J.L. to take
money from certain individuals who had previously bought
drugs, and T.L. or J.L. took money from people while living
in the house on Temple when Loynes and McGowan were not
present. While transporting T.L. to school in the morning
with the other children in the vehicle, McGowan would stop at
one of the trap houses and retrieve money from Loynes. During
one occasion during this time, McGowan drove T.L. to a trap
house and T.L. accompanied McGowan inside.
In March 2014, the State charged McGowan with ten counts of
neglect of a dependent as class C felonies. In March 2017,
the State filed a motion to file amended information
asserting that Loynes's case was disposed and that his
case would not be tried with McGowan's case and replacing
the phrase "JAMES LOYNES and TANESHA MCGOWAN" from
the last sentence in Counts 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9, with the
phrase "JAMES LOYNES and/or TANESHA MCGOWAN."
Appellant's Appendix Volume II at 119. The court granted
the State's motion to amend the information.
In March and April 2017, the court held a bench trial. The
State presented the testimony of T.L., who was seventeen
years old at the time of trial, J.L.J.R., who was sixteen
years old at the time of trial, and J.L., who was nineteen
years old at the time of trial. During cross-examination,
T.L. testified that McGowan never married Loynes, adopted
her, or obtained any kind of legal custody over her. It found
McGowan guilty of Counts 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9. The court