No charges for South Carolina dad whose twins died after being left in hot car

·2-min read
Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott, left, and Coroner Nadia Rutherford, right, talk about the heat deaths of two 20-month-old twin boys during a news conference on Tuesday 21 September 2021, in Columbia, South Carolina.  (AP)
Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott, left, and Coroner Nadia Rutherford, right, talk about the heat deaths of two 20-month-old twin boys during a news conference on Tuesday 21 September 2021, in Columbia, South Carolina. (AP)

A father who left his 20-month-old twin boys in a hot car where they died of heat, after forgetting to drop them off at daycare, will not face charges.

The Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott explained that after a “very intense investigation” it was determined that the father was under extreme pressure due to his manufacturing job, which caused him to forget that his children were in their car seats facing the rear.

The father discovered his sons were deceased when he arrived at daycare to pick them up, only to be told they were not there. Later, investigatorsexplained that the boys’ bodies were found in the SUV, which likely reached temperatures of 120 degrees Fahrenheit (about 49 degrees Celsius) causing them to die of heat, according to the coroners.

Mr Lott has said the boys’ deaths were a “horrible, horrible, tragic accident” and called the interview with the boys’ father “heart wrenching”.

“In his [the father’s] mind, he really believed that he dropped the two boys off at that had daycare,” the sheriff said.

According to USA Today, Mr Lott said of the case, “Watching investigators interview the father was one of the most heartbreaking things I have seen in my 46 years in law enforcement.”

Mr Lott added, from the interview with the deceased’s father, “The pure emotion that came out was not something that you could fake… By God, he didn’t mean to do it. He’s got to live with that the rest of his life.” Mr Lott spoke at a press conference Tuesday.

The coroner and sheriff have both asked the public to pray for the family who lost the twins in the incident.

“Everybody that was involved in this case has been touched by it. The Coroner’s Office, the EMS workers, the dispatchers; our deputies have all gone through counseling,” the sheriff said.

At least 20 children have died in hot cars in the United States this year. In May, Congress introduced the Hot Cars Act to try to prevent these tragic heat deaths of children and animals in vehicles.

Technology is currently under development to be put into cars to detect a child or pet left in a vehicle through sensors that note movement after the engine turns off, and then prompt an alert via text message to the driver, set off the car alarm, or activate the air conditioning if the car is electric. Hyundai and Kia have technology, such as this, implemented into some of their models today.

These technologies have the potential to prevent devastating heat deaths in cars of animals and children.

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