A Texas woman is facing child endangerment charges for leaving her two children, a 1-year-old and a 2-year-old, in her hot car overnight on purpose, police in Kerr County, Texas, say. The children eventually died.
Amanda Hawkins, 19, was arrested Thursday after authorities determined that she had lied when she brought the toddlers to a hospital Wednesday, saying they had collapsed in the park after smelling flowers, according to the Associated Press.
While Hawkins attempted to convince doctors the children, both girls, had possibly ingested something poisonous, according to Fox 29, police later determined that she had waited for hours to get them medical help.
What authorities say really happened was that Hawkins drove to a friend’s house Tuesday night with a 16-year-old male and left her children in the car while temperatures reached the 90s, per mySanAntonio.com. All told, the children were in the car for more than 15 hours, police say.
“This is by far the most horrific case of child endangerment that I have seen in the 37 years that I have been in law enforcement,” Kerr County Sheriff Rusty Hierholzer said in a statement.
Hierholzer also told Fox 29 that one witness told officials that while Hawkins and several others were in the house, they could hear the babies crying and someone told her to bring them inside. At another point, Hierholzer said, the 16-year-old who arrived with Hawkins returned to the car and slept there for a little while.
According to KXAN, police believe Hawkins found the girls unconscious on Wednesday around noon, she initially did not want to take them to the hospital because she did not want to get in trouble. However, she was eventually convinced to get medical attention.
KENS reports that Hawkins bathed and re-dressed the children in an attempt to cover up the fact that she had left them in the car for so long with no food, water or bathroom breaks.
The children died Thursday evening, and autopsies have been ordered, police say. The charges against Hawkins could be upgraded in light of the girls’ deaths, and police have also said additional charges could be brought against others.
“I had the two most beautiful grandbabies,” Hawkins’ mother, Alisha Eddy told mySanAntonio.com. “I don’t agree with what happened, what she did, but I love my daughter. I’m there for my daughter.”
“We’re just bewildered and confused,” Hawkins’ aunt said.