Twin 20-month-old boys who were found dead in their family’s SUV outside a daycare centre, died from heat exposure, a coroner has said.
Bryson and Brayden McDaniel were found dead outside of Sunshine House Early Learning Academy in Blythewood, South Carolina, on Wednesday, September 1.
According to the Mail Online, Richland County Coroner’s Office told a press conference yesterday, September 2, that a parent had placed the children in rear-facing seats of the SUV at around 7:30-8am, before driving off and returning at 5:30pm later that day.
Richland County EMS was dispatched 10 minutes later at 5:40pm and arrived at the scene at 5:54pm, with the twins being pronounced dead a minute later.
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The Coroner’s Office declined to identify the parent who was driving, or where they travelled to after leaving the toddlers, as the investigation is still ongoing.
They also ruled out the daycare’s involvement and implied the death could potentially be as a result of a parent who normally doesn’t drop off the children at school, going out of their normal routine, as seen in previous cases.
Coroner Naida Rutherford believes the twins were in the car for more than nine and a half hours, with the possible cause of death being hyperthermia, meaning their bodies became dangerously overheated.
Blythewood was experiencing 28C at around 6pm on Wednesday evening, with a humidity rate of 79%.
These temperatures can cause the interior of a car to reach 47C within half an hour and 52C within 60 minutes.
Rutherford also reported that the boys had otherwise been healthy and didn’t show any signs of trauma or abuse, no healing or acute fractures, and their organs were developing normally.
Additional tests are being carried out to determine the cause of death, with Rutherford stating that "we will not announce the manner of death until we have all the information".
No criminal charges have been pressed as the police are determining whether the deaths were an accident.
The Coroner’s Office is working with the County Sheriff’s Office and social services in order to identify a more concrete timeline.
Rutherford said: "We have two very distraught parents."
She added: "We can't speak to how or why the children were left in the vehicle for so long. That's why I say if this was an unfortunate accident, we pray the family can find peace.
"But if it was a criminal act, we will help seek justice for these babies."
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