Dad of twins who died in hot car in the Bronx sees criminal case halted

Via:  perrie-halpern  •  5 months ago  •  17 comments

Dad of twins who died in hot car in the Bronx sees criminal case halted
The Bronx district attorney decided not to put the case before a grand jury at this time, pending further investigation.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T

By   Janelle Griffith

A judge on Thursday ruled that there is no criminal case at this time against the father who went to work last week at a Bronx hospital and left   his nearly 1-year-old twins to die in his car   on a hot summer day.

Juan Rodriguez appeared in court on Thursday to answer charges of criminally negligent homicide and manslaughter.

The Bronx district attorney decided not to put the case before a grand jury at this time, pending further investigation. This means the criminal case is still active, but the prosecution has been paused, the district attorney's office told NBC News.

Rodriguez waived his right to a speedy trial, giving Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark more time to decide whether to present evidence to a grand jury. Rodriguez is due in court again on Aug. 27.

190801-juan-rodriguez-al-1158_78f045d3d3 Juan Rodriguez with his wife Marissa and their twins, Luna and Phoenix. via Facebook

Outside the courthouse, after his appearance, Rodriguez declined to speak as he held his 4-year-old son. He was joined by his wife and two older children from a previous marriage. His attorney, Joey Jackson, addressed reporters.

“Mr. Rodriguez consented to a full search of his phone, of his car," Jackson said. "He has nothing at all to harbor and hide, other than to feel misery and sorrow about what happened."

Jackson implored the district attorney to do “what we believe is the right thing, and that is, to dismiss these charges.”

He also said Rodriguez is advocating the passage of a bill that would require an audible warning if a person or pet is in the back seat of a car after the engine is turned off.

On Friday, Rodriguez, a 22-year veteran of the National Guard, left his children in the car while he went to his job as a social worker at the James J. Peters V.A. Medical Center.

The 39-year-old father told police he arrived at work in the Bronx at 8 a.m., worked a full shift and had already started driving home at 4 p.m. when he discovered the twins, Luna and Phoenix, still strapped in their rear-facing car seats. Neither was breathing. He got out of the car and screamed, “I blanked out. I killed my babies," according to the criminal complaint

The children were found by the medical examiner to have had a body temperature of 108 degrees when they died.

On an 86-degree day, as on Friday, it takes only about 20 minutes for the temperature inside a car to rise 20 degrees.

Rodriguez said he left his house in Rockland County on Friday morning with the twins and their 4-year-old brother in the car. He told police he took his son to his day care, but then forgot to drop off the twins.

Rodriguez pleaded not guilty to the charges over the weekend and said he did not act intentionally. He was released on bail.

His wife, Marissa Rodriguez, has said she supports her husband and that their twins' deaths was a horrific accident.

"Though I am hurting more than I ever imagined possible, I still love my husband," Marissa Rodriguez said in a statement Sunday. "He is a good person and great father and I know he would've never done anything to hurt our children intentionally. I will never get over this loss and I know he will never forgive himself for this mistake."

Funeral services for the twins are scheduled for Friday.


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Perrie Halpern R.A.
1  seeder  Perrie Halpern R.A.    5 months ago

Do you think an accident should be punished by prison? 

Trout Giggles
1.1  Trout Giggles  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @1    4 months ago

No. I have never been in this man's shoes so I will not judge

1.2  Cerenkov  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @1    4 months ago

No. It would serve no useful end.

1.3  Freefaller  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @1    4 months ago

If a result of negligence yes, in this case a long time in prison

Buzz of the Orient
2  Buzz of the Orient    5 months ago

Although IMO what he did is criminal negligence, he should really be charged with criminal stupidity.

3  MUVA    4 months ago


4  Kathleen    4 months ago

If it was truly an accident, I am sure he is suffering enough.  I just can't imagine the guilt and pain knowing you did this to your children. There has to be some kind of alarm to stop this.  I was told to take a shoe or sock off and keep it next to your things.  It amazes me that anyone could just forget they are back there.

4.1  Sunshine  replied to  Kathleen @4    4 months ago
There has to be some kind of alarm to stop this.

I just bought a new 2019 SUV that has the option of a reminder to check the back seat before exiting the car.  It activates when any rear seat door has been opened prior to starting the car.  

4.1.1  Kathleen  replied to  Sunshine @4.1    4 months ago

Good, I think they all should have those. My car is a 2014 so this must be something new. 

4.1.2  Sunshine  replied to  Kathleen @4.1.1    4 months ago
Good, I think they all should have those.

I think so too.  Should be mandatory as a safety feature and not able to deactivate.  Not sure when they started with them, my old car was a 2007.

Buzz of the Orient
4.1.3  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Sunshine @4.1    4 months ago

Clever idea, but won't help if the driver INTENDS to keep the kids or pets in the back seat anyway.

4.1.4  Sunshine  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @4.1.3    4 months ago

No it won't.  

5  Ender    4 months ago

I guess it is supposed to be a safety thing but I don't like the rear facing seats.

That wasn't a thing in my day. I think it would make it harder to tend or check on kids.

As for the father, he is going to be in his own private hell for the rest of his life. Sometimes that is enough.

5.1  JBB  replied to  Ender @5    4 months ago

The beloved real certified nanny who had helped raise several of my nephews and nieces became distracted by a phone call from her daughter while a one year old baby boy somehow drowned in the tub in only a few inches of water. She had just run downstairs to retrieve his bottle from the bottle warmer when the call came in. The DA recommended felony criminal negligence charges but our family ended up begging that she not be criminally prosecuted. She was destroyed and can never ever work arpund small children again. These kinds of horrific accidents happen all the time and it is almost always parents, grandparents, trusted caregivers or siblings who are responsible. Just imagine the worst thing you can imagine and multiply that times infinity. That is how hard this was on a family. This kind of thing happens too often...

Paula Bartholomew
6  Paula Bartholomew    4 months ago

How does any parent simply "forget" two of their children?  

7  JohnRussell    4 months ago

I think you have to take the family, including his wife, at their word. They think it is a tragic accident and in the absence of evidence otherwise justice is best served with non-indictment. 

I do wonder how someone could forget two babies in the back seat though. One could argue that his reason for being in the car at that time was those babies. They should have been pretty constantly on his mind that morning (and every time they were in the car). Maybe not every second, but certainly constantly. 

He must have had a lot of serious things on his mind that morning. 

Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom
8  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom    4 months ago

I think his entire life should be investigated, right down to how many TP squares he uses after an average crap.  His wife should be investigated, as well. Were there girlfriends, boyfriends, hidden cell phones, insurance policies, etc.? If all checks out, then one might want to assess whether or not prison time is warranted. However, I don't think he should walk away punishment free.  Whether or not there was intent, he was certainly negligent.

In Texas, a parent or guardian can be charged with a criminal offense for leaving a child/children unattended in a car for 5 minutes, regardless of time of year.  


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