Iraq War Veteran Tells Police 'I Blanked Out' After His 1-Year-Old Twins Die in Hot Car
A New York father, who left his 1-year-old twins in the car while he went to work, is out on bail after pleading not guilty to charges.
Juan Rodriguez, an Iraq war veteran, was released on Saturday after making the $100,000 bail posted by the judge. He sobbed while he pled not guilty to two counts each of manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and endangering the welfare of a child, the Associated Press reported.
According to the criminal complaint filed against Rodriguez, the father told authorities at the scene that he thought he had dropped off twins Luna and Phoenix at daycare before heading to work.
“I blanked out. My babies are dead. I killed my babies,” Rodriguez said to police, according to prosecutors on Saturday.
“This is a tragedy of horrific proportions,” Rodriguez’s lawyer, Joey Jackson, told the judge.
Rodriguez’s wife spoke out about her husband and the incident in a statement shared to PEOPLE by Jackson.
“This is my absolute worst nightmare. Everything I do reminds me of my sweet, intelligent, beautiful babies and I am still in disbelief. Though I am hurting more than I ever imagined possible, I still love my husband,” Marissa Rodriguez said.
“He is a good person and great father and I know he would’ve never done anything to hurt our children intentionally. I will never get over this loss and I know he will never forgive himself for this mistake. This was a horrific accident, and I need him by my side to go through this together,” she continued.
“Luna and Phoenix will always live in our hearts and memories and we are working hard to come to terms with what has happened. We need to grieve, be strong, and be present for our other children. We ask that you respect our privacy during this most difficult time,” she concluded.
“He carried on with his day,” Assistant District Attorney Jaime Breslin told the judge, according to The Post. “He forgot his children in the seats.”
The infants died on Friday after they were left inside the hot vehicle all day while their father was at work. He allegedly did not realize his children had been sitting in the car for hours.
The twins had an internal temperature of 108 degrees when coroners examined their bodies at the scene.
A spokesperson for the New York City Police Department told PEOPLE that the tragedy unfolded in the Bronx just after 4 p.m.
“On July 26, 2019, at 1608 hours police responded to a report of an aided male inside of a vehicle at West Kingsbridge Road and Kingsbridge Terrace, within the confines of the 50 Precinct,” the spokesperson said.
“Upon arrival officers discovered a 1-year-old female and a 1-year-old male unconscious and unresponsive seated in the rear of a Honda sedan,” the spokesperson continues. “EMS responded and pronounced them both deceased at the scene.”
The Medical Examiner’s office is still working to determine the cause of death while the investigation remains ongoing, according to the spokesperson.
Rodriguez is due back in court on Aug. 1.