shifted blame for deaths of children found in car seats
Last Updated Mar 29, 2018 1:00 PM EDT
SUPERIOR, Ariz. — The
mother of two small children found dead after being left strapped in car
seats in a vehicle tried to blame their deaths on someone else who was
supposed to be watching them, authorities said Wednesday.
of events released by the Pinal County sheriff's office says there is no
proof for 20-year-old Brittany Velasquez's story that she dropped the
children off with someone who was to care for them. That person's name is
blacked out in the document.
Velasquez is being held on $2 million
bond on suspicion of two counts of first-degree murder in the Monday deaths
of her 2-year-old son and infant daughter in Superior, a hardscrabble mining
town of about 2,900 people some 60 miles east of Phoenix.
say Velasquez was the last person to see her children alive, when she left
them in a car outside a family home at about 9:30 a.m. Monday and went to
work. The children were dead when Velasquez returned to the car nearly 14
hours later. They were still in the car seats and wearing the same clothes
they had on in the morning.
A cause of death for the children has not
The National Weather Service says the temperature in
the region reached 75 degrees on Monday. "It is NEVER safe to leave a
toddler, disabled person or pet locked in a car," the National Weather
Service says on its web page.
The advocacy group KidsAndCars.org
estimates an average of 37 children die in hot cars each year in the United
"There was no proof that Brittany actually dropped the
children off," the document said. "It is known that the kids spent several
hours in the vehicle as there was condensation on the inside windows of the
vehicle and the children were cold to the touch."
At her court
appearance on Tuesday, the attorney representing Velasquez pointed out
apparent inconsistencies in the police narrative, specifically around whose
car the children were strapped into and whose car Brittany took to work -
hers or her grandmother's.
The judge agreed "it is confusing," but
"we know that the kids were fine in the morning and then they were dead at
11 o'clock at night, and they'd been in that car for some period of time."
The probable cause statement said Superior Police officers were called
to the scene Monday night by Velasquez, who reported finding her two
children unresponsive in a vehicle in front of the house. She told them the
children were not breathing and blood was coming from their mouths.
They were pronounced dead at the scene.
The unidentified person
Velasquez tried to blame for the children's deaths denied there was any
arrangement for her to care for them, authorities said.
person "stated she had no idea what was happening and did not know what
Brittany was talking about," according to the sheriff's document.
Superior Police Department report from January cited Velasquez's grandmother
Sally Velasquez saying Velasquez left the toddler and infant with her for
days at a time.
Superior police called Arizona child protection
officials in early January because of those concerns about the children
after the grandmother claimed Velasquez had stolen a $3,500 fur coat.
But the coat was later returned and the grandmother did not seek
The police report also indicated that in that incident,
Velasquez would not be investigated for child neglect or abuse unless the
grandmother stated she was no longer willing to care for the children.
In response to a request from CBS News' Crimesider about previous
contact with the family, a spokesman for the Department of Child Safety said
in an email Velasquez was investigated in October 2016 and January 2018,
both times on reports that she was leaving the children with her
In both cases, the agency said, they found no evidence
to suggest the children were being abused or neglected. It said case workers
determined Velasquez had a job and that the apartment where she then lived
in the city of Mesa had everything needed for her children.
understand these types of tragic events evoke emotional reactions; we too
feel pain when children suffer. However, we can only make decisions based on
the available evidence and what the law allows," the agency said in a
statement released to Crimesider. "The Department acted in good faith based
on the information we received and exercised our due diligence during these
Pinal County Superior Court Administrator
Todd Zweig said Velasquez would be represented by the county public
defender's office. A specific attorney has not yet been assigned to her
case. Velasquez could not be reached at the jail.
being conducted to determine causes of death of the children. Autopsy
results could take months, the sheriff's office said.
children left in car died from exposure, autopsies show
The 20-year-old mother of Michael Lorenzo Velasquez, 2, and Brooklyn
Velasquez, 9 months, faces murder charges.
Published: 11:30 AM PST
July 3, 2018
Updated: 11:30 AM PST July 3, 2018
PHOENIX (AP) -
Autopsies on two small Arizona children left strapped in car seats for hours
in a closed vehicle have determined the infant girl and her toddler brother
died from exposure, and they suffered no trauma and had no drugs in their
The reports by the Pinal County Medical Examiner's Office say
the March 26 deaths of Michael Lorenzo Velasquez, 2, and Brooklyn Velasquez,
9 months, in the isolated Arizona community of Superior were "consistent
with exposure to the elements."
The reports signed by Medical
Examiner Dr. John Hu were released late Monday in response to a records
request by The Associated Press.
The children's 20-year-old mother,
Brittany Velasquez, was charged in the deaths.
The autopsies say
sheriff's officials reported Velasquez left the baby in a car at least twice