Children left in cold at casino

Two young children were left unattended in a car for about two and a half hours in 25 degree weather in the parking lot of Grand Casino Mille Lacs.

Now their mothers are facing criminal charges in connection with the March 21, 2013, incident.

Carla Ann Turnquist, 22, of 430 Dewey St. in Foley, and Bonnie Lanette Turnquist, 42, of 17905 50th St. NE, Foley, have been charged in Mille Lacs County District Court with child endangerment for putting the children in a situation where they could have been harmed or died.

According to a criminal complaint, the children, ages 10 and 2, were left in a vehicle in a high crime area of the casino parking lot. A window was cracked open and the vehicle was not running. Temperatures outside were about 25 degrees at the time of the incident.

Bonnie Turnquist told authorities that she and Carla Turnquist had stopped at the casino to get some money by cashing in a winning ticket issued by the casino.

But the two stopped to gamble, Bonnie Turnquist told investigators. The women estimated they were in the casino for about an hour.

Using security footage of the casino parking lot, law enforcement was able to determine that the women were inside the casino for about two and a half hours while their children were outside in the cold vehicle.

They were taken into custody and booked into the Mille Lacs County Jail.

Both women are scheduled to appear in court for an omnibus hearing on May 2.

If convicted of the gross misdemeanor charges, each woman could face a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $3,000 fine.