The father of two children, who died inside a hot truck, was released from jail after surveillance footage showed the kids went into the vehicle on their own. However, the investigation was still ongoing.
On Saturday (June 13), four-year-old Teagan and three-year-old Ryan went to a convenience store with their father, 31-year-old Dustin Dennis. When they returned home, Dennis took a long nap and did not wake for hours.
Four to five hours later when he woke up, Dennis could not find his children in the house and went looking for them. Eventually, he found them in the floorboard of his truck.
Paramedics who arrived on the scene could not revive the children. Dennis was arrested the same day on two counts of second-degree murder. Details about the children’s mother were not known.
Now, however, Dennis was released from custody after video surveillance footage from a neighbor’s home showed the children climbed into the truck on their own.
“Video surveillance footage from a neighbor’s home confirmed that the children managed to get into the truck and tragically never got out,” the Tulsa District Attorney said in a statement, according to KTUL. “Based upon that newly discovered evidence the detectives immediately reported it to our office. We then presented that information to the judge who initially set bond.”
Dennis was released from jail as of Monday afternoon.
Although no formal charges were filed, the Tulsa District Attorney’s Office noted the investigation is still ongoing and that the release does not mean that the case is over.
“It is always important to note that our Constitution guarantees the presumption of innocence for any person accused of or arrested for a crime,” the statement continues. “That presumption of innocence remains until and unless a judge or jury determines otherwise.”
According to KidsandCars.org, an average of about 39 children die from vehicular heat stroke each year. That’s about one death every nine days. In fact, over 940 children have died inside hot cars since 1990.
“Even the best of parents or caregivers can unknowingly leave a sleeping baby in a car; and the end result can be injury or even death,” KidsandCars.org said.
So far, 2018 is deemed as the year with most fatalities with 54 deaths. For 2020, there have so far been four recorded child hot car deaths, with Teagan and Ryan’s cases being the third and fourth.