A Texas mother has been charged in the heatstroke deaths of her two toddlers.
Cynthia Marie Randolph, 24, was arrested after her 2-year-old daughter, Juliet, and 16-month-old son, Cavanaugh, were found dead inside a car in Weatherford, Texas, reports the Daily Mail.
The deaths occurred on May 26 when officials were called to Randolph's house shortly after 4 p.m., reports WFAA. Officials say that Randolph's kids were playing in her car, and her daughter refused to get out, so she shut the door to teach her daughter "a lesson," thinking they would eventually leave the car.
Randolph then went inside her home, smoked marijuana and fell asleep for several hours, the investigation revealed.
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The children were pronounced dead shortly after 4:30 p.m.
Officials say Randolph gave several variations of the events. She admitted to investigators that she later broke the car window to make it look like an accident.
On June 23, she was charged with two counts of first-degree injury to a child causing serious bodily injury.
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On Aug. 4, it was revealed that the Tarrant County Medical Examiner ruled the deaths as homicides, with the cause of death listed as heatstroke, reports WFAA.
Whether or not the charges against Randolph will be upgraded in light of the autopsy report is not known. Meanwhile, Randolph remains in Parker County Jail.
Less than a year prior to the deaths of Randolph's kids, another case of vehicular heatstroke occurred in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.
On that occasion, a Dallas family left their 3-year-old son in the car while attending church during triple-digit weather.
By the time the toddler’s father realized his son was in the hot car, it was too late: the boy was dead of heatstroke.
The tragedy happened on July 24, 2016, at the Rehoboth Praise Assembly Faith Miracle Center, as reported by KDFW.
Four of the family’s five children were safely in their bible study classes when it dawned on them that the youngest child was not present.
When the unresponsive boy was found in the family’s stifling hot Honda Pilot, a call was made to 911, and Dallas Fire-Rescue responded to the Miracle Center, WFAA reported at the time, according to the Dallas Morning News.
The emergency responders performed CPR and rushed the victim to a local medical center, where he was pronounced dead.
The temperature inside a car can rise 19 degrees in the first 10 minutes, according to heatstroke expert Jan Null of San Jose State University. "For a 5-month-old, that's probably unsurvivable,” Null observes. And after a few hours, the temperature inside the car can increase up to 50 degrees hotter than the outside air.
An average of 37 children in the United States die each year from being left in hot cars, according to the website Kids and Cars. So far in 2017, the total number of such deaths is 31, the site reports.