The Bronx man facing charges in the allegedly hot-car deaths of his twins called his wife from the car just before he realized they were still inside of it.
According to New York station WPIX, Juan Rodriguez called his wife as he was pulling away from the VA Hospital parking lot where he worked as a social worker. He then asked her to pick them up from daycare.
The father then realized that the twins were still strapped to their car seats and were never taken to their daycare, the station reported.
— PIX11 News (@PIX11News) July 31, 2019
“He made a phone call as he was leaving the hospital asking his wife to pick up the kids at daycare,” a law enforcement source told the station. “He was supposed to pick up a uniform for his reserve duty. He truly believed they were at the daycare.”
The WPIX report stated that Rodriguez drove two blocks after leaving the hospital before he noticed his twin babies, Luna and Phoenix, were still there.
Witnesses said that after he stopped the car, he began screaming.
BREAKING: 2 infants have been found dead after being left in a hot car in the Bronx. NYPD sources say the children’s father apparently forgot them in the back seat Friday morning and went to work for over 8 hours. https://t.co/NCO5Y9X9fa #CBSNewYork pic.twitter.com/EXJvS6JwIy
“I blanked out! I killed my babies,” he reportedly said, according to the station.
Reports said that the babies’ internal temperatures reached 108 degrees F.
Rodriguez is now facing two counts of criminally negligent homicide and two counts of manslaughter.
The twins were left alone in a hot car for hours, police say.https://t.co/RKSTQ4TQIw
— News12BX (@News12BX) July 27, 2019
New York Police officials believe the deaths of the twins were accidental.
“My client is heartbroken,” said attorney Joey Jackson, ABC7 reported. “He certainly understands the gravity of what occurred. His family understands the gravity of what occurred. They are strong, they are resilient, and they will get through this very difficult and trying time.”
2 days after 1-year-old twins died in a hot car in the Bronx, their mother pleaded for leniency for her husband after he said he forgot the children in the car. “Though I am hurting more than I ever imagined possible, I still love my husband.” https://t.co/dQzzVJ2MtT
— The New York Times (@nytimes) July 29, 2019
His family is also stunned.
“Everyone in our entire family is devastated,” Shecter, who is Marissa Rodriguez’ sister, told LoHud.com. “Including Juan.”
Shecter told the news outlet that the family was close.
“They would find things to do together every weekend,” she said.
Heatkills.org, citing the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that when outdoor temperatures range between 80 and 100 degrees, the interior of the car can get to 130 to 172 degrees.
“Children have died in cars with the temperature as low as 63 degrees. Basically, the car becomes a greenhouse. At 70 degrees on a sunny day, after a half hour, the temperature inside a car is 104 degrees. After an hour, it can reach 113 degrees,” stated Jan Null, adjunct professor at San Francisco State University, according to the website.