Family reacts after 2 kids die from heat in car - WSMV News 4

Family reacts after 2 kids die from heat in car

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There's a puzzling twist to a terrible story. Why would a mother leave two young children in a hot car, then fall asleep?

Samantha Harper, 25, faces two counts of especially aggravated child abuse and is being held on a $200,000 bond.

Police said the two children, a boy and girl aged 2 and 3 years old, were found just before 4 p.m. near a vehicle in the 9500 block of Old Nashville Highway.

Investigators believe the children were left inside the car and died from the heat.

Flowers, a sign and stuffed animals make for a memorial Friday just feet from the driveway where the children died and where, now, their family grieves.

"I mean, they're just perfect," said family member Estella Shipp. "They were beautiful. I know that. They were the happiest kids you've ever seen."

Police found 2-year-old Savanna, and her 3-year-old brother Daniel, unresponsive Thursday afternoon.

According to investigators, their mother put the children inside the family car then went back inside, and for some reason, fell asleep.

At best guess, the children suffered for an hour before they died from heat stroke.

"Mistakes can be made easily. And this time, this mistake wasn't fixable," said family member Sarah Brazas.

"We know she would not intentionally hurt those children. She would not. They were her pride and joy," Shipp said.

Following the discovery, Symrna's Codes Department condemned the home. Officers found trash, insects and old food scattered inside the house.

Also, two air conditioners were not turned on when inspectors visited Thursday, and the temperature inside easily soared to at least 90 degrees.

In spite of it, family members defended the woman now facing charges and the scrutiny of so many.

"Their mother is a little slow and she has a hearing problem," Shipp said. "She's wanted babies ever since she was a baby. That's all she wanted."

"Like I said, she made a mistake, like many parents do. And this one, she lost her babies, and we're just never going to get to see them again," Brazas said.

More serious charges may follow, but the law in this case actually includes death from heat exposure, so the charge for now appears to fit the details.

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