A Texas mother whose two young children died in a hot car while she partied inside a shed was sentenced to 40 years in prison Wednesday.
Police say that June 7, 2017, Amanda Hawkins, then 19, drove her 1- and 2-year-old daughters to the hospital. The girls were in dire condition and their mother claimed they’d collapsed after smelling flowers at a nearby lake, Kerr County Sheriff Rusty Hierholzer told The Washington Post last year.
But police quickly determined that flowers weren’t the culprit. Instead, the girls’ mother intentionally left them in her car overnight while she partied with friends, according to Hill Country Breaking News.
The children – Brynn Hawkins, 1, and Addyson Overgard-Eddy, 2 – were trapped in the car for 15 to 18 hours as temperatures in Hill Country reached close to 90 degrees. That evening, someone heard the girls crying in the car and asked Hawkins to bring them inside. “She said: ‘No, it’s fine. They’ll cry themselves to sleep,’ ” Hierholzer said.
Hawkins pleaded guilty in September to two felony counts of abandoning or endangering a child causing imminent danger or death, bodily injury or physical or mental impairment, and two counts of injury to a child, according to People. In a statement, police said Hawkins was initially reluctant to drive the children to the hospital because “she did not want to get in trouble.”
Prosecutors said that Hawkins Googled how to revive someone from heat exhaustion while running cold water on the girls in a futile attempt to save them, the Hill Country Breaking News reported.
Her attorney did not immediately respond to a phone call and email requesting comment.
“Those precious little girls would still be here today if this had not happened,” Judge Keith Williams told Hawkins during the trial. “People in our community take better care of their pets than you took care of your kids.”
Williams imposed four sentences of 20 years each, with two sets running concurrently, bringing her total sentence to 40 years.
Deaths of children in hot vehicles have fluctuated in recent years. On average, 38 children die in such cases each year, according to kidsandcars.org, although these tragic cases are oftentimes unintentional, as Hierholzer said last year.
“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.
(c) 2018, The Washington Post · Michael Brice-Saddler