Indictment Delayed for New York Father Allegedly Who Left Twins in Hot Car

August 1, 2019 Updated: August 1, 2019

A grand jury hasn’t heard the manslaughter case against Juan Rodriguez, the Iraq War veteran father who allegedly left his twins to die in a hot car in New York.

Prosecutors made the announcement on Aug. 1, reported the New York Post.

Rodriguez appeared in court for a hearing, and prosecutors said that there hasn’t been any “grand jury action,” said Bronx District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Patrice O’Shaughnessy.

“We’re still investigating,” she said.

Rodriguez posted $100,000 bail after he was arrested in the deaths. He was charged with two counts of criminally negligent homicide and manslaughter.

His attorney told the Post that he is optimistic that the district attorney’s office will dismiss charges against him.

“We understand that they will continue to evaluate all aspects of the case and we welcome their evaluation of that,” said his lawyer, Joey Jackson. “We believe at the conclusion of them evaluating all the facts, all evidence and everything in this case, they will come to the conclusion that this is a horrible tragedy.”

“He has nothing at all to harbor and hide, other than to feel misery and sorrow about what happened,” Jackson told the New York Times, adding that the district attorney should do “what we believe is the right thing, and that is, to dismiss these charges.”

The father discovered the twins, Phoenix and Luna, unconscious in their car seats in his Honda Accord as it was parked at his workplace, a VA hospital in the Bronx.

He is slated to appear in court on Aug. 27.

Called Wife Before Discovery

According to New York station WPIX, Rodriguez called his wife as he was pulling away from the VA Hospital parking lot where he worked as a social worker. He then asked her to pick them up from daycare.

The father then realized that the twins were still strapped to their car seats and were never taken to their daycare, the station reported.

“He made a phone call as he was leaving the hospital asking his wife to pick up the kids at daycare,” a law enforcement source told the station. “He was supposed to pick up a uniform for his reserve duty. He truly believed they were at the daycare.”

The WPIX report stated that Rodriguez drove two blocks after leaving the hospital before he noticed his twin babies, Luna and Phoenix, were still there.

Witnesses said that after he stopped the car, he began screaming.

“I blanked out! I killed my babies,” he reportedly said, according to the station.

Reports said that the babies’ internal temperatures reached 108 degrees F.

“My client is heartbroken,” said attorney Joey Jackson, ABC7 reported. “He certainly understands the gravity of what occurred. His family understands the gravity of what occurred. They are strong, they are resilient, and they will get through this very difficult and trying time.”

Heatkills.org, citing the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that when outdoor temperatures range between 80 and 100 degrees, the interior of the car can get to 130 to 172 degrees.

“Children have died in cars with the temperature as low as 63 degrees. Basically, the car becomes a greenhouse. At 70 degrees on a sunny day, after a half hour, the temperature inside a car is 104 degrees. After an hour, it can reach 113 degrees,” stated Jan Null, adjunct professor at San Francisco State University, according to the website.

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