A 19-year-old Texas woman has been arrested on two charges of abandoning or endangering a child after her two toddler daughters died from what authorities believe to be the results of being left alone in a vehicle for hours.
Amanda Hawkins was arrested in San Antonio, Texas, and is currently being held on $35,000 bond per count, the Kerr County, Texas, Sheriff’s Office said in a statement on Friday.
According to investigators, the young mother first brought her two daughters —Brynn Hawkins, 1, and Addyson Overgard-Eddy, 2 — to Peterson Regional Medical Center in “grave condition” on Wednesday, claiming the girls had collapsed after smelling flowers during an outing at Flat Rock Park.
Officials say they later determined that the children had been left in Hawkins’ vehicle for more than 15 hours while she visited friends at a nearby residence — leaving them overnight from Tuesday until approximately noon on Wednesday.
According to one local weather report, temperatures in the area dipped to 65 degrees overnight Tuesday before climbing to 92 degrees on Wednesday.
Upon discovering the girls unconscious in the car, Hawkins attempted to bath them — not immediately wanting to take the girls to the hospital for fear of getting into trouble, authorities allege.
“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,” Sheriff W.R. “Rusty” Hierholzer said in the Friday statement, adding that charges could be upgraded after the case is presented to a grand jury.
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Hawkins was accompanied to the Peterson Regional Medical Center by an unidentified 16-year-old male, who had allegedly been with her in the house at the time her daughters were in the vehicle.
“She left them in the car — intentionally in the car — while her and the 16-year-old male friend were in the house,” Hierholzer told local TV station KABB. “They were in the house all night. The male friend for a little bit went to sleep in the car a little while but then went back to the house.”
According to KABB, Hireholzer added that people inside the house had reported hearing the children crying, but nobody went to check.
Brynn and Addyson were transferred to University Hospital in San Antonio where they both died on Thursday, according to authorities.
Autopsies by the Bexar County Medical Examiner’s Office were scheduled for Friday, results of which have yet to be announced.