Stay-at-home mother faces jail time after arrest warrant issued for unreturned books at Grimes County library

Kaylee Morgan never thought her 30th birthday would start off with a warrant for her arrest.

April 1, 2024: Kaylee Morgan was stunned when she found out a warrant was out for her arrest for an overdue library book in Grimes County, Tx. (Copyright 2024 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

HOUSTON – As if pushing through postpartum, completing house chores and taking care of children aren’t enough -- one mother says a warrant was issued for her arrest after not returning a library book.

“I really didn’t believe it. Like I real thought I’m on Punked or something like this is not true,” Kaylee Morgan said.

Recommended Videos

Kaylee Morgan, a wife and a stay-at-home mother of five, rented a few books from the Navasota Public Library in Grimes County, Texas in March of last year.

They were for her homeschooled children.

During that time, Morgan was experiencing a rough pregnancy, dealing with hyperemesis and placenta previa. She didn’t return the books by the due date. She said her husband returned all but one book because it didn’t fit inside the library’s drop box.

What happened next stunned Morgan.

When she went to renew her driver’s license, she found out there was a warrant for a $570 ticket -- yes, $570 ... for overdue books. As she tried to explain the situation to Judge Patricia M. Gruner, Morgan said the judge did not want to hear her “excuses” and said she needed to “take responsibility.”

“This has definitely been stressful. I exclusively breastfed my daughter so now I’m having to navigate pumping in case I get arrested,” she said.

Morgan said when she offered to pay for the missing books, even though they’ve been returned, the judge told her that they were beyond that point in the process and Morgan now needed to make things right.

“She told me that by returning the books late, I had done the equivalent of walking out of Walmart without paying for merchandise,” Morgan wrote on her GoFundMe account. “They now refuse to reinstate my license until I pay the ticket and there is an active warrant out for my arrest in Grimes County.”

Morgan said they are a single-income family and barely make ends meet with five children, including their 3-month-old baby.

She said this has also put a strain on her breastfeeding journey as she is forcing herself to use a breast pump in case she goes to jail over the library books.

Morgan wants to fight the case but does not have the additional funds.

Morgan says she’s been charged with theft of government property, a Class C misdemeanor that will show up on her record.

KPRC 2 reporter Re’Chelle Turner talked with she spoke to Cary Bovey, Navasota’s legal counsel, over the phone. He said Morgan’s case is pending and under investigation. He would not comment any further.

According to a city ordinance, refusal or failure to return books or items within 30 days from the due date will result in the person’s library card being revoked. The ordinance also states that any person who damages or destroys books may face a misdemeanor fine punishable by up to $500. Morgan believes the ordinance is excessive.

“There are so many other things we can do as consequence. I do agree having a time frame for library books is important so everyone can participate but maybe community service like you returned a book late so come read to the kiddos,” she said.

The ordinance does not say anything about jail time.

Kaylee says they are a one income family and the $570 fine she was given was not in the budget. She was able to raise the money. She said any money left over will be donated to the Smithville Public Library. Kaylee adds that is considering a petition to change the ordinances.

If you would like to help Kaylee, send her an email

About the Author

Award-winning journalist, mother, YouTuber, social media guru, millennial, mentor, storyteller, University of Houston alumna and Houston-native.

Recommended Videos