The deaths of two toddlers in Texas, left inside a hot car as punishment by their mother, was ruled a homicide by the Parker County, Texas medical examiner.
Police arrested Cynthia Marie Randolph, 25, in June, charging her with two first-degree felony counts of injury to a child causing serious bodily injury. She is being held at Parker County Jail on a $200,000 bond.
The temperature was nearly 96 degrees on May 26, when Randolph found her two children, a 1-year-old boy and a 2-year-old girl, unresponsive in her car. Parker County Sheriff Larry Fowler said the incident was reported shortly after 4 p.m.
Randolph initially stated she had been folding laundry and watching TV when she realized her children were gone. She then said she searched her property and after a half hour, found them unresponsive in her vehicle, supposedly having trapped themselves inside while playing. Emergency medical personnel soon arrived and pronounced the two children deceased at 4:33 that afternoon.
However, over the course of several more interviews with investigators, Randolph continued to lie about what happened, but eventually admitted guilt in her role in the deaths of her children.
In the last interview, Randolph revealed the truth to investigators about how she had found the children playing in her vehicle around 12:15 p.m., and cursed to get the children to come out. After the two year old refused, she then shut the door and left them inside the car to “teach them a lesson.”
According to the police press release, Randolph was thinking her daughter “could get herself and her brother out of the car when ready.”
Randolph then stated that she went back inside her home, smoked cannabis, and then took a nap for 2 or 3 hours.
Sheriff Fowler said in a statement that cases involving children are always difficult, but this particular incident was heartbreaking. He also said he was satisfied with the arrest, and that investigators are confident that Randolph was solely responsible for the unfortunate deaths of her two children.
According to Jan Null, a meteorologist who gathers data on child heatstroke deaths in the United States, more than 700 children have perished from heatstroke in hot cars during the last two decades. The site also states that over half of those deaths are due to caregivers “forgetting” about their children in the cars.