Two young children were reportedly found dead in a hot car outside their home Friday in Texas, according to multiple reports.
The mother of the two children — a 16-month-old boy and 2-year-old girl — found them unresponsive in the vehicle in Parker County, west of Fort Worth, according to Star-Telegram. The Tarrant County medical examiner’s website had identified the children as Juliet and Cavanaugh Ramirez.
Parker County Sheriff’s Captain Mark Arnett told CNN that according to the mother, the children were playing in a back room of their home when they disappeared. After searching the home, she continued looking outside, where she eventually found them locked inside the car, and one of the children had her cellphone and car keys, Arnett said.
The mother told investigators that she broke the car window and called the police, but it was too late, according to NBC DFW. The temperature had been “hovering around 96 degrees,” according to the outlet.
Investigators do not know how these young children locked themselves in the car.
“I think that’s the biggest question we’re asking, and I think that’s the answer that we’re trying to find is how would these children be able to do that?” Captain Arnett said to NBC DFW.
One family member of the victims reacted to the devastating news.
“Everybody’s distraught, it’s just horrible,” Raymond Ramirez told NBC DFW. “Being so young, you don’t have any words.”
This year, eight children have died nationwide after being left in vehicles, and of those, three have been in north Texas, including the two Friday in Parker County, according to Star-Telegram.
Children are less able to regulate their body temperature compared with adults, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, and a child left in a hot car can die of heat stroke very quickly.
PEOPLE was unable to reach the sheriff’s office for comment.