Baby Twins Die After Being Left in Hot Car in The Bronx, Father Charged With Manslaughter

Two one-year-old twins died inside a hot car Friday in New York City. According to the New York Police Department, the infants' father forgot they were in the car and accidentally left them inside the closed-up vehicle while he went to work.

The father Juan Rodriguez, 39, is a social worker and worked a full day at a veterans hospital in the Bronx about two blocks away from where he had parked. After working a full day from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., he returned to his Honda sedan, to find the 1-year-old boy and girl, NYPD officials said in a news release.

Friday's temperatures in New York City reached a high of the mid-80s, according to the National Weather Service. The interior of a closed car left out in the warm weather can reach temperatures significantly higher.

The New York Police Department said the boy and girl, identified as Mariza and Phoenix Rodriguez of nearby Rockland County, New York, were found unconscious and unresponsive in the back seat of the Honda. They were pronounced dead at the scene.

According to CBS News, "The vehicle had tinted windows, so it was almost impossible for anybody to notice that the children were there," NYC council member Fernando Cabrera said.

Rodriguez has been charged with two counts of manslaughter and two counts of criminally negligent homicide, NYPD said, according to CNN. The New York City Medical Examiner will determine the twins' cause of death, which is believed to be heat exhaustion, police said.

"He was going crazy. He didn't know what he's gonna do," witness Enis Kricic told CBS New York.

Rodriguez's friend Temple Barros, 41, told CNN that Rodriguez and his wife celebrated the twins' birthday this month.

"We had a huge birthday for them," Barros — the manager of an indoor skydiving business — said. "We had bounce houses, bubble machines. They went all out. They even had portable air condition machines to keep people cool.

"He's always been an amazing father. Whatever they need, he'll go out and get it."

He said the family has a "very bright" older daughter. The mother is "not believing what happened," he said. "Their parenting is amazing. I'm at a loss."

Dr. David Diamond, a professor of psychology at the University of South Florida, told NBC News in 2017 that any parent is capable of forgetting their child in a car. Diamond said that when a child is quiet and out of sight, parents can lose awareness.

According to the National Safety Council, on average, 38 children die each year from being left in a hot car.

Summer in the Bronx
Pairs of sneakers decorate a telephone wire above a street in the Bronx. (Photo by Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images)