Two toddlers are dead after authorities in Texas say their mother intentionally left them inside of a car for more than 15 hours as she hung out with friends on Tuesday night.
Amanda Hawkins, 19, was arrested on two counts of abandoning or endangering a child following the tragedy involving her young daughters, the Kerr County Sheriff’s Office announced Friday.
Sisters Brynn Hawkins, 1, and Addyson Overgard-Eddy, 2, were initially described as in “grave” condition after taken to a hospital in Kerrsville by their mother and a 16-year-old boy on Wednesday. There, their mother told hospital staff that the girls collapsed after smelling flowers at a lake, Sheriff W.R. “Rusty” Hierholzer said in a release.
“They thought maybe they got into something poisonous,” Hierholzer recalled the mom’s story to Fox San Antonio.
He said the story, however, quickly started to fall apart.
An investigation by the police and child protective services found that Hawkins had intentionally left the girls overnight in her car while at a friend’s. Around noon the next day she found them unresponsive in the car, Hierholzer said.
“Some of the witnesses said that they could hear the kids crying outside and told her to bring them in but she didn’t want to,” he told KENS 5.
Instead of immediately seeking help, Hierholzer said the mom bathed them and redressed them. She allegedly told authorities that she didn’t want to take them to the hospital “because she didn’t want to get into trouble.” According to Fox San Antonio, someone talked her into taking them to a hospital.
Around 5 p.m. the next day, they were taken off ventilator systems and died, Fox San Antonio reported. An autopsies of the bodies are currently underway.
“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,” Hierholzer said in his statement.
Hierholzer said charges against the girls’ mother may be upgraded because of their deaths. It will be up to a grand jury to decide. The 16-year-old boy may also face charges.
HuffPost has reached out to Hawkins and her family and will update when a response is received.