A New York father who left his 1-year-old twins in his car while he went to work told investigators "I blanked out, my babies are dead, I killed my babies," according to the criminal complaint released Saturday.
Juan Rodriguez, 39, of Congers, pleaded not guilty to two counts of manslaughter and two counts of negligent homicide, the NYPD said. He said that leaving his son and daughter in the car was unintentional.
Rodriguez and family members were in tears throughout the Saturday afternoon arraignment. He was later released on $100,000 bail.
The twins, Phoenix and Luna, had just turned 1 on July 9, according to the complaint. They were left in the backseat of their father's car from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. when he returned and found them lifeless, still strapped into their car seats.
The children's bodies were 108 degrees when they were found, the medical examiner said.
City councilman Fernando Cabrera called for support of several efforts to prevent hot car deaths, including educational campaigns and technology to remind parents that kids are still in a car.
“My heart is broken,” Cabrera said. “Two innocent babies lost their lives, dying from heat in a parked car at a major facility in an area of heavy vehicular and pedestrian traffic. This happens far too often, even with caring parents who cannot explain why it happened.”
There's an average of 38 heat-related deaths of children locked in cars nationwide per year, according to kidsandcars.org, a website that tracks the deaths. It says as of July 16, there had been 21 this year.