Her story went viral, in a bad way — and now she’s suing the news station responsible.
The Houston CBS affiliate KHOU-TV ran a story on July 15 about children trapped in a hot car.
In the original version of the story, KHOU relied on the cell phone footage and testimony of one eyewitness who said the children’s mother, Araceli Cisneros, left her kids in the car so she could get a haircut.
As it turned out, that wasn’t the case: Cisneros had accidentally locked her keys in the car, and as the Houston Chronicle reported, she was desperately trying to get her kids out when bystanders smashed the windows to help.
She’s now suing KHOU for over $200,000 in damages, the Chronicle reported.
“As a result of KHOU’s objectively false news report, Cisneros feared that she would be subject to prosecution for leaving her children in a locked car,” her suit alleges. “Based on the public’s response to the article … Cisneros also feared for the safety of herself and her family.”
The suit also claims that the station and reporter Rucks Russell neglected to conduct the “most basic fact checking,” the Chronicle reported.
Since the new information came to light, KHOU added an editor’s note to the story, saying, “The witness who shot the cell phone video was mistaken when he thought the mother left the children in the car while she got a haircut. We have removed that part of the story. The mother accidentally locked her keys in the car and recruited other witnesses to help smash the window open.”
However, in the accompanying video, the line about the mother getting a haircut was still there as of Sunday morning:
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