UPDATE: Mother of children who died from heat charged with child abuse

SMYRNA -- The mother of two children who died from an apparent heat stroke after becoming trapped in a car at a 9500-block Old Nashville Highway home was arrested late Thursday.

Twenty-five-year-old Samantha Harper was charged with two counts of especially aggravated child abuse of the children, ages 2 and 3, according to Smyrna Police Sgt. Bobby Gibson.

Investigators responded around 3:45 p.m. to the home, which sits near the intersection of Chicken Pike, and were still there late Thursday night processing the scene.

Smyrna Police Sgt. Bobby Gibson said an ambulance assist call first drew police to the home.

When officers arrived on the scene, they found two children, one male and one female, lying on the ground next to a car deceased.

Its unclear whether emergency officials or someone else may have discovered the children and removed them from the car before police arrived.

Gibson said it wasnt clear whether girl or boy was the elder of the two late Thursday.

I think we can all agree this is a tragedy, said Gibson, adding that Smyrna Police could file additional charges in the case in the coming days.

Gibson said it appeared the two children, who were related, became trapped in the car and they overheated.

It appears they suffered heat strokes, he said. Of course in a car like that, temperatures are going to be a lot greater than they are outside.


SMYRNA -- Two children died in Smyrna at Old Nashville Highway near Chicken Pike from apparent heat stroke, according to police.

When police arrived, they found the children lying near a car. Police said they had been in the car during the day.

Police did not say how old the children were or where their parents were at the time.

"The call first came in as an ambulance assist around 3:45 p.m.," Gibson said. "Officers also responded and found two small children lying dead near a car. They had suffered a heat stroke."

He did not release the type of vehicle the children were found beside, and he also said he could not release the ages or genders of the children until family members had been notified.

"We do believe the children may have been trapped in the car for some time, which exacerbated the heat stroke," Gibson said.

The medical examiner is on the scene assisting in the investigation, Gibson said.

The DNJ is on the scene and will have more details as they are available.