Juan Rodriguez won't serve prison time for the deaths of his 1-year-old twins, who died from hyperthermia in the July 2019 incident

By Chris Harris
June 24, 2020 09:50 AM
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Phoenix and Luna Rodriguez

Nearly one year after his 1-year-old twins died after being left in a hot vehicle in New York City, a father has pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree reckless endangerment, but will be spared prison time.

PEOPLE confirms that Juan Rodriguez, 39, has been sentenced to a one-year conditional discharge after entering those pleas.

The conclusion to the painful case was announced Tuesday by Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark.

Back on July 26, 2019, the Iraq war veteran's children, twins Luna Rodriguez and Phoenix Rodriguez, died after they were left inside Rodriguez's hot vehicle all day while he was at work.

Rodriguez told authorities he 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.

They were found still strapped to their car seats, and the cause of death was determined to be hyperthermia.

Both children were foaming from the mouth when first responders arrived at the scene.

According to the initial criminal complaint filed against Rodriguez, he dropped off his 5-year-old son at a separate daycare first, before allegedly forgetting about the babies.

Rodriguez told authorities at the scene 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.

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"These babies suffered horribly," Clark said. "This was a tragic, unfortunate incident. I hope that as the sweltering weather is upon us, caregivers will be extra vigilant about children in vehicles."

After leaving work, Rodriguez drove for two blocks before seeing them in the rearview mirror.

Last summer, Rodriguez's wife issued a statement, calling their deaths "a horrific accident" and calling the grieving father "a good person and great father and I know he would've never done anything to hurt our children intentionally."

The couple, according to Rodriguez's attorney, have committed themselves to trying to prevent other parents from going through the same pain, reports WNBC.