Last week, a 19-year-old Texas mom was charged with endangering her children after authorities allege her toddler daughters were intentionally left alone in a vehicle for more than 15 hours.
The girls later died. Here are five things to know about the case.
1. Mom: My Daughters Collapsed After Smelling Flowers
On Wednesday, Amanda Hawkins brought her two daughters — Brynn Hawkins, 1, and 2-year-old Addyson Overgard-Eddy — to Peterson Regional Medical Center in Kerrville, Texas. The children were in “grave condition,” and Hawkins claimed the girls had collapsed after smelling flowers during a visit to a local park, the Kerr County, Texas, Sheriff’s Office said in a statement on Friday.
However, authorities said an investigation revealed that the girls had actually been left in her vehicle overnight Tuesday until Wednesday around noon while their mother was with friends in a nearby home.
2. The Girls Could Reportedly Be Heard Crying in the Car
The girls were without food or water or allowed to leave to use the bathroom, Kerr County Sheriff Rusty Hierholzer said, according to local TV station KABB.
Investigators suspect Hawkins’ daughters were intentionally left in the vehicle. Hierholzer “said that at some point [a] 16-year-old [friend] went out to the car and slept for a while but then went back inside the house,” KABB reports.
“[He] told us he also understood someone inside the house could even hear the children crying and told her [Hawkins] to bring them inside the house, but she didn’t.”
According to one local weather report, temperatures in the area dipped to 65 degrees overnight Tuesday before climbing to 92 degrees on Wednesday.
3. Hawkins Had Allegedly Left Her Kids Alone Before
The sheriff’s office alleged that Hawkins did not immediately want to take the girls for medical treatment after she found them in the vehicle because she feared the consequences.
Instead, she attempted to bathe the girls, who were already unconscious, according to authorities and KABB.
Hierholzer said Hawkins was eventually persuaded to take the girls to the hospital, KABB reports. He said that investigators believe she had left her children alone in a vehicle before but that the sheriff’s office had “no history” with her, according to their records.
4. Mom Remains in Custody
Hawkins’ kids died on Thursday after being hospitalized, according to the sheriff’s office. Autopsy results are pending.
Hawkins was charged that same day with two counts of abandoning or endangering a child, according to the sheriff’s office. She remains behind bars on $70,000 bond.
She has not entered a plea to her charges and no court hearing date has been set. She has not retained an attorney.
5. Sheriff: This Case Is ‘Horrific’
In a statement Friday, Hierholzer said the circumstances of the girls’ deaths were terrible. The charges against Hawkins could be upgraded, he said.
“This is by far the most horrific case of child endangerment that I have seen in the 37 years that I have been in law enforcement,” he said.