A social worker father is facing manslaughter and homicide charges after he allegedly left his twin babies inside a scorching car for nearly eight hours on Friday, police say.
ABC7 reports that the father, identified as 39-year-old social worker Juan Rodriguez of Rockland County, New York, claimed he forgot to take his babies out of the car before he went to work at the James J. Peters VA Medical Center in the Bronx on Friday morning. He left his car parked in the employee parking lot for around eight hours before leaving work later in the day.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, the man said when he drove off from the intersection of Kingsbridge Terrace and Kingsbridge Road at around 4 p.m., he noticed the babies were in the backseat. He pulled over and screamed for help. A bystander called 911.
HOT CAR DEATHS: Juan Rodriguez, the 39-year-old father of the twins found dead in a hot car in NYC, was charged with two counts of manslaughter and two counts of criminally negligent homicide. https://t.co/7E8gKSL0f9 pic.twitter.com/mxXZxcdF3T
— Eyewitness News (@ABC7NY) July 27, 2019
According to NBC New York, first responders arrived at the scene and found the children foaming at the mouth. They were strapped into rear-facing car seats in the back of a silver Honda Accord. First responders attempted to perform CPR, but it was too late. The children were pronounced dead at the scene.
Rodriguez was arrested and booked on charges of manslaughter and two counts of negligent homicide. His friend Temple Barros, however, said the man is a great father caught up in a horrible situation.
“He’s always been there for his kids. Always. This is just a horrible situation. The family isn’t doing so well,” Barros told the New York Post.
Neighbor Tony Caterino added that Rodriguez made a fatal mistake but was always a good father who took care of his family.
“This was just a horrible mistake. That one time you make a mistake and you have to live with it for the rest of your life…They were a great family. Always doing things with the kids, always in the yard playing.”
Witnesses told police Rodriguez was crying and panicking. He shouted, “Oh my God,” and screamed for help.
Outside temperatures reached 86 degrees on Friday, the National Weather Service reported. Hot car deaths have claimed the lives of 23 children so far this year, according to Kids and Cars.
Rodriguez appeared in court Saturday morning to face criminal charges against him. It’s unclear if he retained a lawyer.
The story continues to develop. Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.
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[Feature Photo: Mariza and Phoenix Rodriguez/Facebook]