"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," said a Texas sheriff Friday in announcing the arrest of a 19-year-old mother whose toddler girls died after being left overnight in a hot car. The San Antonio Express-News reports Amanda Hawkins arrived at Peterson Regional Medical Center Wednesday with Brynn Hawkins, 1, and Addyson Overgard-Eddy, 2. Kerr County Sheriff Rusty Hierholzer says Hawkins told doctors the girls had collapsed while smelling flowers at Flat Rock Park, reports the AP. What followed: Officials' discovery that was a lie, and the Thursday deaths of the girls.
What police have pieced together, per Hierholzer: Hawkins left the girls in an SUV from 9pm Tuesday to about noon the next day while she spent time with friends inside a Kerrville home; the windows were cracked for part of that time, and temps reached about 85 degrees with 96% humidity. KSAT quotes Hierholzer as saying one of the friends Hawkins was with "told her they could hear the kids crying out in the car and told her to bring them in." She allegedly responded that the girls were fine and would soon cry themselves to sleep. Upon finding the girls unconscious, Hawkins allegedly put them in a cold bath "and did not immediately want to take the girls to the hospital because she did not want to get into trouble," per a release. Hawkins was arrested on charges of abandoning or endangering a child Thursday and is being held on $70,000 bond. (Read more child dies in hot car stories.)