A North Texas mother is facing first-degree felony charges in the deaths of her 2-year-old daughter and 16-month-old son. Police say that the 25-year-old mother, Cynthia Marie Randolph, locked both young child in the car to teach them a lesson.
Randolph was arrested on Friday for two counts of causing injury to a child. Both children died of extreme heat exposure, according to authorities.
The incident transpired on Friday, May 26th, when the dead bodies of 2-year-old Juliet and 16-month-old Cavanaugh were discovered in a locked car parked in the driveway of her home outside of Fort Worth. According to NBC Dallas-Fort Worth, temperatures reached 96 degrees that day.
Documents released on Friday reveal the department’s rational for arresting the suspect. The Parker County Sheriff’s Department determined that Randolph changing her story about how her children died was probable cause for arrest.
At first, authorities say that the suspect told them that she was folding laundry while her children were outside playing. After about an hour, she left the house to look for her children and found them locked inside the car with her keys and cellphone. She said that she broke the window in an attempt to rescue her children and called 911.
But when Randolph was arrested this Friday, she told a completely different tale. Authorities say that the suspect admitted to locking the toddlers inside her vehicle on purpose to teach them a lesson.
“When they refused to leave the car, the defendant said she shut the door to teach Juliet a lesson, thinking she could get herself and her brother out of the car when ready,” authorities said in the probable cause affidavit.
Authorities also claim that Randolph admits to leaving her children behind in the car, while she smoked marijuana and passed out for a few hours.
“When she woke, the defendant found her children in her vehicle, unresponsive,” authorities added. “The defendant said that she broke the car window to make it look like an accident.”
Ms. Randolph was booked into the Parker County Jail on Friday. A bond has not been set, and we don’t know whether or not she’s hired an attorney.
In 2017 alone, 13 children have died from being locked inside cars and suffering heat stroke, according to San Jose State University professor Jan Null. Null, a meteorologist that works with the National Safety Council, tracks the trend in hot car deaths each year via his web site. According to the data, an average of 37 children die in hot cars annually in the United States.
To fight back against this trend of hot car deaths, Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, introduced the Hot Cars Act of 2017. This bill requires all new cars to come equipped with a device that alerts the owner of the vehicle if the child is left behind after the car is shut off.