Sheriff calls twin toddlers’ deaths a ‘tragic accident,’ says no charges will be filed against father

Sheriff Lott called the deaths a “tragic accident.”
Sheriff Lott called the deaths a “tragic accident.”
Published: Sep. 20, 2021 at 8:48 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 21, 2021 at 10:10 PM EDT
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BLYTHEWOOD, S.C. (WIS) - The Richland County Sheriff’s Office said the 20-month-old twin boys who died in a hot car on September 1 after being left for nine hours was a horrible accident and no criminal charges will be filed.

Sheriff Leon Lott said the father was under intense pressure at work and forgot to take the toddlers to daycare that morning.

RELATED STORY | Twin toddlers found dead inside vehicle outside day care, RCSD investigating

Sheriff Lott says after work a short distance away, the father went to pick them up at the Blythewood facility on Wilson Boulevard, went inside and the workers said the twins weren’t there.

Then the dad went outside and found his little ones dead in the backseat.

Sheriff Lott said the father tried to revive them, but there was nothing he could do.

Coroner Naida Rutherford said the heat index inside the SUV that day was 120 degrees and they died from hyperthermia or heat stroke.

Sheriff Lott said he’s seen a lot of cases and this one has been terribly difficult because it involves young children, the whole community, and mourning parents so difficult all the investigators have attended therapy.

The sheriff said there was an intense investigation into the father which lasted 3 weeks and his department turned all the evidence over to the solicitor’s office who conducts investigations.

The Solicitor’s Office, according to Sheriff Lott, chose not to bring criminal charges.

Sheriff Lott said the father is terribly upset stating the father’s interview with police was gut-wrenching and no one could fake that kind of raw emotion.

Coroner Rutherford had a message for daycare workers if they notice a child doesn’t show up that day.

Naida Rutherford says, “We urge each parent there are so many stressors with Covid 19, with the world-changing to look in the backseat. Make sure you dropped off the children. For every child care center, baby center, we urge you if the child does not show up to call the family. It could save a life.”

Officials say there are also things you can do to remind yourself there is a child in the backseat like setting alarm on your phone, ask a caregiver to call you, putting something in the backseat, putting a diaper bag in the front seat, and putting a stuffed animal in the car seat and when you put your child in there put the stuffed animal in the front seat.

Sheriff Lott wouldn’t say if the father is the one who normally takes the twins to daycare or not.

He just said it was a terrible accident that the father didn’t mean to do, and asked for everyone to pray for the family to find peace.

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