Two young children from Oklahoma died after being left inside a locked truck for five hours. Their father has been charged with two counts of second-degree murder.
During a visitation this past weekend, four-year-old Teagan and three-year-old Ryan went to a convenience store with their father at around noon Saturday (June 13). However, upon returning home, their father, 31-year-old Dustin Lee Dennis, fell asleep and did not wake up for four to five hours.
According to police, Dennis noted that he could not find his children when he woke up but he eventually found them in the floorboard of his truck. He then moved his children to the living room but paramedics could no longer revive them.
Fox23 reports that upon gathering evidence, police found that a neighbor has video footage of Dennis locking his truck and going inside without getting the children out.
The children’s cause of death was not immediately released but Dennis has now been charged with two counts of second-degree murder and is being held at Tulsa county jail.
Close relatives of the children have set up a GoFundMe page to help their mother with the funeral expenses.
“With the heat consistently in the 90’s, please double-check your car when you park. This tragic incident was completely preventable,” The Tulsa Police Department said in a Facebook post.
According to the Automobile Association (AA), a British motoring organization, accidentally leaving children in cars even just for a minute is dangerous at any time of the year, but is particularly so in summer.
“Children are particularly vulnerable as they are less able to cope with high temperatures and may not recognise the symptoms of heat-related illness, such as dehydration,” AA President Edmund King OBE said. “But it’s not just warm days that can present a risk: vehicle glass behaves like a greenhouse, which means in sunshine, temperatures can rise quickly inside even if there’s a chilly breeze blowing. So remember not to leave kids alone in the car, because anything can happen.”
According to KidsAndCars.org, over 940 children have died inside hot cars nationwide since 1990, with an average of 39 deaths per year. So far, the organization has logged 2018 as the year with most child vehicular heat stroke deaths, at 54. The year 2019 follows closely with 53 deaths.