Two children who were locked in a hot car for two hours as punishment died of heatstroke and their deaths have been ruled homicides, according to the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office.
The mother of the two children, Cynthia Marie Randolph, was arrested in June and charged with two first-degree felony counts of injury to a child causing serious bodily injury. In light of the medical examiner’s ruling, she will likley faces additional charges.
The children — Juliet Ramirez, 2, and Cavanaugh Ramirez, 16 months — died May 26, when temperatures reached 96 degrees, which at the time was the hottest day of the year.
When it’s 95 degrees outside, the temperature inside a vehicle can soar to 140 degrees in one hour, according to noheatstroke.org. Heatstroke begins when the body’s temperature reaches 104 degrees.
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On the afternoon of May 26, sheriff’s deputies were called to a residence in the 200 block of Rambling Loop, in an unincorporated area of Parker County west of Lake Weatherford, where Randolph told detectives that she found her two children unresponsive after being locked inside a vehicle. It was the first of several stories that she told about the events of that day, according to investigators.
Ultimately, Randolph, 24, told an investigator that she had been upset with Juliet because the toddler would not get out of the car. She cursed at her daughter and then locked the two children inside the 2010 Honda Crosstour, thinking they would be able to get out on their own, according to an arrest warrant affidavit detailing her interview with Texas Ranger Jim Holland.
As the temperature inside the car rose, Randolph went inside her house and smoked marijuana, then took a nap of two to three hours.
After waking up, Randolph began looking for the children. When she couldn’t find them, she went to the Honda, where she could see Juliet in the driver’s seat and Cavanaugh on the floorboard, according to the affidavit.
Randolph said neither child was responding and all the doors were locked, so she broke the passenger side window, removed both children and rushed them inside, placing them on the kitchen table.
Randolph plugged her phone into a charger — she had left it in the car with the children — and called 911. Life Care Medics pronounced both children dead at the scene.
This story contains information from Star-Telegram archives.