Police say alcohol was a factor in the case of a Georgia man who allegedly left his twin daughters to die in a hot car.
Asa North was reportedly drinking on Aug. 4 when he accidentally left his 16-month-old children in the back of his car for hours. He appeared in court following his arrest, where a judge denied him bail due to the nature of the charges as well as the fact that he’d been arrested six times before.
North’s head was down during the hearing, and his family cried as they watched the hearing unfold.
“I can tell people that he loved his babies. He was very proud of them from the day they was born, they was a pound apiece,” North’s aunt, Audrey North, told WSB-TV as the family left the courtroom. She was asked about her nephew’s drinking habits.
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“He drinks, but you know he’s aware of what’s going on, but all we know to do right now is to pray,” she said.
Neighbors reportedly discovered the twins in the back of North’s SUV and tried to revive them using ice packs. The efforts proved unsuccessful and the girls, Ariel and Alaynah, both died at a nearby hospital soon after.
“I'm taking it rough man. I usually, the kids with her now, you know. They angels. They going to be angels. I miss them,” neighbor Donnie Holland said. Neighbors reportedly called 911 after they heard screaming and yelling, and approached North’s house to find him attempting to revive his children in a kiddie pool.
“We do believe they were left in the car for a period of time,” Carrollton Police Capt. Chris Dobbs told CNN.
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Janette Fennell, founder of KidsAndCars, told CNN that 24 children have so far died in 2016 after being left in hot cars.
“The biggest mistake people make is thinking that it can't happen to them,” she said. “"Everyone should practice those safety measures and do whatever they have to do to remind themselves to check the back seat."
Fennell believes technology can play a role in saving children’s lives.
“You can't buy a car [today] that doesn't turn your headlights off for you or remind you to turn off your headlights,” she said. “And the question just begging to be answered is, who has decided it's more important not to have a dead car battery than a dead baby? And I don't say that to be harsh or sensational. It's just a fact."