Mom Accused of Purposely Leaving 2 Toddlers to Die in a Hot Car

mom left toddlers to die in car
Bexar County Sheriff's Office;

There are few stories more heartbreaking than those of children who die after being left in a hot car, but the most recent of these tragedies is particularly disturbing. That's because while most of these horrible deaths are accidental, the two toddlers who lost their lives in Texas this week after being left in a car for 15 hours were allegedly left there on purpose by their 19-year-old mother.


When Amanda Hawkins first brought her daughters to Peterson Regional Medical Center in Kerrville, Texas, on Wednesday, she claimed the toddlers had collapsed at a nearby lake, one after the other. Hawkins mentioned that the girls, 1-year-old Brynn and 2-year-old Addyson, had been smelling flowers and she wondered if perhaps they'd come into contact with something poisonous. Both children were reportedly in "grave condition" and were soon transferred to University Hospital in San Antonio. Unfortunately, the damage was done: Brynn and Addyson were taken off ventilators and passed away at around 5 p.m. on Thursday.

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By the next day, a very different story about what happened to those poor little girls was out: There were no poisonous flowers, there was no trip to the lake. According to Kerr County sheriff Rusty Hierholzer, Hawkins had left the children intentionally in her car while she went to a friend's house on Tuesday night -- and didn't let them out until around noon on Wednesday. As Hierholzer told Fox 29, at some point a 16-year-old boy who'd gone to the house with Hawkins went out to the car to see the girls "for a little while," and someone in the house reportedly heard the girls crying and told Hawkins to bring them inside, but she didn't. She allegedly left them in that car for 15 hours, as temperatures reached the 90s.

When she did finally take the girls out of the car, she tried to bathe them (maybe to cool them off?) instead of taking them straight to the hospital because she "didn't want to get into trouble," according to Sherrif Hierholzer's statement. The sheriff also offered the following grim assessment:

"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."

Hawkins was arrested and is being held at San Antonio's Bexar County jail on two counts of abandoning or endangering a child. She is awaiting transfer to Kerr County. According to Sheriff Hierholzer, the charges could be upgraded after the case is presented to a grand jury.

I'm no criminal justice expert -- just a mom who's beyond sickened by this unimaginably terrible tale -- but murder charges certainly seem appropriate. These two innocent babies lost their lives. And why? At this point, it's impossible to say what Hawkins's motivation might have been, but she's not the only one at fault in this situation. What about the people in the house who supposedly heard the children crying? And what about the 16-year-old who went out to the car? To be fair, that boy is technically a child and the children were not his responsibility -- though Hierholzer says it's likely he will face some charges, as "he does have some culpability in this." It just seems as if someone involved in this situation would have had the presence of mind to rescue those children.

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It's not like these stories are so uncommon that the average person isn't aware of the dangers of leaving kids in a hot car. This year alone, 11 kids have died of heatstroke after being left in a car; last year, that number was 39. But most of those deaths were, as Hierholzer pointed out, "accidental" -- while these deaths were allegedly anything but.

Tragically, nothing will ever bring those little girls back. So we can only hope that justice is served in their name, and that their story will help to prevent other kids from meeting the same fate.

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