Kevin Franke is charged with two counts of manslaughter and other charges

By Elaine Aradillas
February 08, 2018 05:27 PM
Credit: Kerr County Police Dept.

A 17-year-old Texas teen has now been charged as an adult in the case of two toddlers who died after being left overnight inside a vehicle, officials said.

Kevin Franke is charged with two counts of manslaughter, two counts of injury to a child and two counts of abandoning and endangering a child — and his case was recently moved from juvenile to adult court. His bail totals $310,000.

“We chose to seek certification [as an adult] based on the egregious nature of the crime, the man’s conduct following the deaths of the two small children, and the inability to properly serve and rehabilitate him in the juvenile system due to his age,” said Kerr County Attorney Heather Stebbins in a statement to PEOPLE.

Franke’s attorney Joe Gonzales told the San Antonio Express-News that the cases were overcharged.

“This is not the type of case that rises to the level of exposing a young man of his age to the adult judicial system,” Gonzales said, adding that he should be charged with child abandonment at most. Attempts to reach Gonzales was unsuccessful.

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Amanda Hawkins, the mother of the two toddlers who died, allegedly drove her children to a friend’s house on June 6 and left them in her vehicle overnight, where they endured the Texas summer heat for at least 15 hours while she was inside a nearby home with friends, according to law enforcement.

Authorities said at some point in the evening, someone heard the girls — Brynn Hawkins, 2, and Addyson Overgard-Eddy, 1 – crying outside and asked if they wanted to come inside.

“She [Hawkins] said, ‘No, it’s fine. They’ll cry themselves to sleep,’” Kerr County, Texas, Sheriff W.R. “Rusty” Hierholzer alleged in an interview with the Washington Post.

At the time of the incident, the Sheriff alleged a 16-year-old friend of Hawkins’ — now identified as Franke — went outside to her car and slept for a period of time before returning to the home, according to a report on local TV station KABB.

However, according to Gonzales, Franke was unaware the children were in the vehicle at the time.

“My client has maintained all along that he was not aware the young girls were sitting in the back of the vehicle … and did not hear any noise from these girls,” Gonzales said about Franke in the Express-News. “This is nothing more than accidental deaths that occurred because their mother put the girls in that situation.”

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The girls, who allegedly did not have food or water while inside the vehicle, were pronounced dead the following day when they were transported to a San Antonio hospital.

Franke is currently in the Kerr County jail. It is unclear whether he entered a plea as an adult.

Hawkins, who is still in jail, is expected to begin her trial for injury to a child and endangering a child on March 26 according to court records.