Arizona police have arrested a woman on suspicion of murder and child abuse after she allegedly locked her children in a car for 14 hours, causing them to die slowly, as reported by FOX 10.
In court on Thursday, Brittany Velasquez, 20, denied killing her two children, an infant and a toddler, when she entered a plea of not guilty. Instead, she blamed the children’s babysitter, and then their grandparents, for the horrific misdeed, as reported by Fox News.
“I haven’t been showing too much emotion to everything that’s going on, because I don’t know how to feel. I’m just very hurt,” she told reporters. “My pride and joy were taken from me, and it makes me really mad.”
Her children were found dead on Monday night, strapped to their seats in a car parked in her driveway. Investigators have refuted her claim that she left the kids with a babysitter, and the mysterious babysitter has not come forward publicly or been identified. They have also indicated that there were signs of foul play inside the vehicle where the children perished.
Her brother, Vincent Velasquez, concurred with authorities and labeled his sister as “manipulative” and “deranged” in remarks he gave to reporters, according to another story by FOX 10.
“They were innocent. They didn’t have a chance to live. They never to got to love anybody,” he said. “One thing I am happy about: my grandparents, they took care of them. If it wasn’t for my grandparents, those kids would’ve never seen true love.”
One of the grandparents spoke to reporters and also levied accusations at Brittany, calling her “volatile” and “mentally unstable.” The woman said she had called Child Protective Services on several occasions to urge them to take action in the situation.
DCS officials have confirmed that they investigated the household on two separate occasions, citing that there was no evidence for them to pull the two kids from the home.
“In both reports, there was no evidence that the mother was abusing or neglecting her children,” the agency wrote in a statement. “While there were concerns raised regarding Ms. Velasquez’s previous mental health, no evidence was presented by anyone that indicated mental health issues were impeding Ms. Velasquez’s ability to parent.”
Vincent, however, has attested that his sister would put on a show for these DCS officials, tricking them into thinking that the children had a safe and happy home.
“They would come and talk to her, and they would just leave. We would never hear anything back,” he said. “They would come, talk to her and leave. Come, talk to her and leave, but, like I said, she would manipulate them to look normal.”
Brittany Velasquez is facing two counts of second-degree murder and child abuse.
This is an ongoing investigation. The suspect is due back in court on Friday.
[Featured Image: Pinal County Sheriff’s Office]