Mom Pleads Guilty to Murder After 2 Kids Are Found Dead in Their Car Seats

Brittany Velasquez's children
Fox 10

More than a year after police in Superior, Arizona, found two siblings dead in their car seats, their mother, Brittany Velasquez, has pleaded guilty to their murders. The incident happened in March 2018, when prosecutors say Velasquez intentionally left her 2-year-old son and 10-month-old daughter in a hot car for hours. Now, a month before she was due to stand trial, the 22-year-old mother has reportedly accepted a plea bargain.

  • Police originally responded to a call at the family's home around 11:15 p.m. on March 26, 2018.

    According to ABC 15, authorities found Valasquez's two children, Brooklyn and Christopher, strapped into their car seats inside the family vehicle. A coroner later determined that the children died from exposure, and after an investigation, police began to suspect foul play in light of evidence indicating Velasquez knowingly left her children in the car all day.

    The mom initially claimed to have hired a babysitter who was meant to be watching her kids that day, while court documents filed later stated that the mom said her kids were being watched by their grandparents. According to investigators, neither story turned out to be true.

    In court documents, Velasquez's brother Vincent later described her as untrustworthy.

    "She's very manipulative," Vincent said, according to court documents. "She would manipulate them [her kids] to look normal."

    Other relatives have described her as mentally unstable.

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  • Sadly, this wasn't the first time authorities visited Velasquez's home regarding issues of neglect.

    According to People, the mom had been investigated for neglect by the Arizona Department of Child Safety on two separate occasions. Several calls to police were also made by Velasquez's own relatives -- including one incident on January 1, 2018, when a relative reported that Velasquez had stolen a fur coat. On the same call, the relative claimed that the mom repeatedly disappeared for days at a time, each time leaving her kids with her family.

    The Department of Child Protective Services also confirmed in a statement that it received two reports about Velasquez over the years, but found no evidence of abuse. One call from a relative in October 2016 also accused Velasquez of leaving her son with her mother for long stretches of time. 

    “The child was seen on multiple occasions during the investigation," the statement read. "The DCS investigator concluded there were no indications the child was being abused or neglected."

    DCS closed the case after finding that there were "no legal grounds to remove the child."

  • But just days later, on January 5, DCS received yet another call about Velasquez's alleged neglect.

    During this investigation, officials learned that Velasquez's mother would watch her kids while she worked. DCS also enrolled the mom in a home visitation program, signed her kids up for day care free of charge, and again determined that there was no sign of abuse.

    According to court documents, Velasquez's brother later said that his sister had been mentally ill since she was young, but refused to get help.

    “We tried,” he said. “We begged CPS to take the kids. We begged the cops. Nothing would happen. Only thing we can do. We can’t kidnap the kids. My grandparents let them stay in the house. Other than that, that’s all we can do, know they are in a home, being fed.”

  • Shortly after police discovered her children unresponsive, Velasquez was arrested on suspicion of two counts of murder.

    With the plea deal, Velasquez will avoid a lengthy trial and officially be sentenced in February.

    “She agreed to a stipulated term of 20 years flat followed by lifetime probation,” Pinal Deputy County Attorney Shawn Jensvold told People. “She won’t be eligible for early release.” 

    Meanwhile, her family continues to mourn the children.

    A GoFundMe campaign created by Velasquez's sister Amber on March 27, 2018 raised over $11,000 to cover funeral funds for her niece and nephew.

    "Baby Brooklyn was going to be 10 months old April 4th, she was full of life and always smiling and playing," Amber wrote on the campaign page. "Baby Christopher was 2 years and 3 months. He had an incredibly bubbly personality and loved to play and dance." 

    "These two special souls will be greatly missed," she added. "No child should ever go through what they went through."

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