A second suspect faces charges in the deaths of two toddlers left overnight in a vehicle in Texas while their mother went to party.
Amanda Hawkins, the mother, was indicted in August on two charges of injury to a child and two charges of endangering a child.
Prosecutors said that Hawkins left her two daughters, Brynn Hawkins, 1, and Addyson Overgard-Eddy, 2, outside all night while she went to a nearby residence and partied.
The toddlers were found “in grave condition” the next day, and died shortly after Hawkins and a 16-year-old male took them to a hospital.
Sheriff Rusty Hierholzer previously said that Hawkins told a person who suggested to bring the children inside, “They’ll cry themselves to sleep.”
The girls were left in outside in the car for a total of 15 hours, according to the Kerr County Sheriff’s Office.
“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 a statement.
Now officials have announced that Kevin Franke, who is now 17 but was the 16-year-old male that accompanied Hawkins to the hospital and allegedly bore responsibility for leaving the toddlers outside, has been charged with manslaughter, injury to a child, and child abandonment.
Because of his age at the time of the crime, Franke was previously charged as a juvenile, but District Judge Keith Williams waived juvenile jurisdiction late last week, reported the San Antonio Express-News.
“We chose to seek certification based on the egregious nature of the crime, the man’s conduct following the deaths of the two small children, and the inability to properly serve and rehabilitate him in the juvenile system due to his age,” Kerr County Attorney Heather Stebbins told the Express-News.
But Franke’s attorney said that the teen didn’t know the girls were in the car overnight and when he discovered them unconscious the next day with Hawkins, he urged her to rush them to the hospital.
Franke did sleep in Hawkins’s SUV in the “wee hours” before daybreak because of the lack of beds in the home but didn’t hear the girls, the attorney added.
“My client has maintained all along that he was not aware the young girls were sitting in the back of the vehicle … and did not hear any noise from these girls,” defense attorney Joe Gonzales said. “This is nothing more than accidental deaths that occurred because their mother put the girls in that situation.”
Up to five other adults, who partied with Hawkins and Franke in the residence that night, will potentially face misdemeanor charges, Stebbins said.