AURORA, Ill. (STMW) — It was 7 a.m. on May 5 when Jason Massier got the phone call every father dreads.
On the other end of the line was a LaSalle County Sheriff’s deputy directing Massier to an area hospital where his three young children were undergoing treatment after being found unresponsive in a car just hours before, the Beacon News reports.
What followed was a nightmare, Massier said, with charges of aggravated battery against a child being filed against his estranged wife.
Paulina Massier, 32, currently of Aurora, was found unresponsive alongside the kids in a toxic fume-filled car in the parking lot of the Grand Bear Lodge in Utica. The kids, ages 8, 4 and 3, were taken to the hospital where they underwent toxicology screenings.
On May 25, Paulina was arrested in Grundy County on a LaSalle County warrant after anti-anxiety medication was found in her young son’s system. The LaSalle County State’s Attorney’s Office is further investigating the incident.
LaSalle County deputies were called to deal with a fight that broke out at Grand Bear Lodge in the early morning hours of May 5. When they arrived, they noticed a woman passed out behind the wheel of her car. A deputy made note to check on the woman once the fight was under control — according to Massier, it was a good thing he did.
The investigating officer not only noticed Paulina in the car, but three little heads barely visible in the car’s back seat. The deputy told Massier that he banged on the doors, and got no response from his wife, or the three children. He jimmied open the door, and was met with a cloud of toxic fumes, Massier said. LaSalle County Sheriff Tom Templeton said there was a bucket on the passenger floorboard of the car, containing an unidentified substance. The liquid is being analyzed, Templeton said.
Massier said that a toilet bowl brush was found in the bucket, and that Paulina told deputies that she was cleaning a toilet in Aurora, was in a hurry, and didn’t have time to dump the chemicals. All three kids, including Paulina, were taken to an area hospital for treatment. Templeton said the deputy was not harmed.
Toxicology reports revealed anti-anxiety medication was found in the system of Massier’s 4-year-old son. Massier was required to provide medical records for the boy, proving that he was not prescribed the substance found in his system. The battery charge was subsequently filed. Paulina remains in custody, with a bail of $150,000, Templeton said.
Templeton said the investigation is ongoing, and has been placed in the hands of the LaSalle County State’s Attorney’s office.
“It is in their hands for consideration,” he said. “The state’s attorney has the current reports. What they do in front of a grand jury is their decision.”
Templeton said DCFS has opened a case.
Massier recently filed for divorce, and was granted an order of protection against Paulina on May 7 in Kendall County.
LaSalle County prosecutors were not the first to file charges against Paulina this year.
On March 30, Aurora police issued a missing persons report for Paulina following a series of threats she made on a social media website indicating she was going to take her own life. She then quit answering her phone, and became unreachable, police said. She was found out of state several days later.
On April 9, Paulina was arrested in Naperville on a warrant out of Kendall County. Prosecutors charged Paulina with felony arson for allegedly burning down a storage unit in Plano in late March before she was reported missing.
Massier said he allowed Paulina to see the kids while supervised following her release on the arson charges. A month later, when she asked to take the kids to Utica, Massier said he was hesitant, but finally agreed. Paulina had shown him her itinerary for the trip, and promised she would be with a friend the whole time. Paulina, however, never checked into the lodge, but stayed at a friend’s house instead, Massier said.
According to Massier, at some point during the night, Paulina woke up that friend and told her she was leaving. Several hours later, the four were found unresponsive in the Grand Bear Lodge parking lot.
Calls to the LaSalle County State’s Attorney’s Office were not immediately returned.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2013. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)