A Texas judge showed little sympathy during sentencing for a mom whose two daughters, ages 1 and 2, died after being left in an increasingly hot car overnight.
“Those precious little girls would still be here today if this had not happened,” said Judge Keith Williams, according to Hill Country Breaking News. “People in our community take better care of their pets than you took care of your kids.”
In September, Amanda Hawkins pleaded guilty to two felony counts of abandoning or endangering a child causing imminent danger of death, bodily injury or physical or mental impairment and two counts of injury to a child.
Children left overnight in vehicle, mom partied
In 2017, police said the then-19-year-old mom drove to a friend’s house in Kerrville, Texas. Police said the children were in her car for between 10 and 15 hours from Tuesday night until midday Wednesday while Hawkins and her friends were inside a shed smoking marijuana, according to testimony.
At one point, a 16-year-old at the party who didn’t want to sleep in the shed slept in Hawkins’ car with the girls.
When he awoke at 8 a.m., he rolled up the windows, brought the key inside and told Hawkins he was leaving. The teen, Kevin Franke, is also charged in the girls’ deaths with two counts of first-degree murder, according to court documents obtained by People.
Hawkins awoke at noon, had sex, and found her daughters, Brynn Hawkins, 1, and Addyson Overgard-Eddy, 2, unconscious in the vehicle, the prosecution said.
The temperature was 89 degrees, a Kerr County Sheriff’s Office report said.
Hawkins took the girls inside and ran cold water on them from a bathtub, Googled ways to revive people from heat exhaustion and told others she wasn’t going to the hospital, according to the news account of testimony. The reason? She “didn’t want to go to jail.”
Two hours later she did take the girls to a regional medical center and they were transferred to University Hospital in San Antonio.
Dr. John Gebhart said Hawkins told him the girls had been at a park smelling flowers but had collapsed when they got ready to leave. He spent 40 hours trying to save their lives but was unsuccessful.
“Brain swelling is what actually killed these kids,” he said.
Gebhart said their deaths were painful. They likely suffered from “profound” shock while they were in the hot car.
They would experienced sweating, cramps, horrific headaches, shortness of breath and then seizures followed by a burning throughout their entire body – and it was a slow process.
Hawkins was told she could stay overnight at the hospital with the girls but said she preferred a hotel because it was more “comfortable.”
She didn’t come back until 3 p.m. the next day, according to witness testimony.
At her sentencing last week, Hawkins said she was ready to “accept whatever the punishment may be.”
“There are no excuses for what I did. I do love them and care about them.”
Contributing: The Associated Press