A 19-year-old mother has been arrested after she allegedly left her two daughters in a hot car while she partied with friends.
Amanda Hawkins, a Texas teenager with two young daughters, Brynn, 1, and Addyson, 2, left the two toddlers in the car overnight on June 6 and "ignored their cries," Mirror reports. She is said to have left the girls in the car for over 15 hours.
Witnesses told Amanda, who works at a Walmart, to bring her children inside, but "she didn't want to," said Kerr County Sheriff Rusty Hierholzer. Witnesses at the scene heard the two girls crying in the car.
While the girls were trapped inside the car, Amanda was at a house nearby with a group of friends, including a 16-year-old male friend who slept inside the car during the night but did not let the children out.
Around noon the next day, Amanda returned to the car to let the girls out and found them unconscious. The temperature was at a high of 92 degrees. She did not report the incident to police, fearing that she would be arrested. The 16-year-old friend is reported to have convinced her to seek medical help for the girls.
Amanda took the girls to the hospital, telling staff that they had passed out while smelling flowers at a park. The two toddlers died at the hospital, and their mother was arrested and charged with two counts of abandoning or endangering a child on June 8.
"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.
The sheriff added that the 16-year-old boy will "probably have to face some charges," The New York Times reports.
"He does have some culpability in this," said Hierholzer.
Hierholzer added that the children "were left in that care intentionally."
"Helpless little kids," he said. "And it was totally preventable."
A friend who has known Amanda since middle school said that she wished she had called Child Protection Services.
"I hesitated for so long because I didn't want her kids in the system," said Miriam Davis. "But I didn't know they would die."
In December 2016, Amanda and her husband, Isaac, created a GoFundMe page, trying to crowdsource funds for a new house, according to Daily Mail.
"I'm trying to raise money to get us into a home," read Amanda's GoFundMe. "We are living with my grandparents. We are both working but it's still hard. Any help is greatly appreciated. We will be buy-in this house."
The page, which did not receive any donations, had a fundraising goal of $1,500.
Isaac and Amanda have reportedly been estranged since the page was created.
Amanda faces two years in jail under the present charges, but she may face more serious charges because of the girls' deaths. She is currently being held on a bond of $70,000.