JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – An investigation into the death of 4-year-old twins has been launched after they were found unresponsive inside a toy chest at their home in Jacksonville, Florida, according to TODAY SHOW.
“We are working with our partners at the Medical Examiner’s Office to determine the cause of death,” homicide Lt. Adam Blinn told TODAY.com in a statement. “At the time, we don’t know if this was an accident or foul play is involved.”
In a Facebook post, the twins’ mother, Sadie Myers, said that her husband, Don Starr, put the children to bed on Aug. 25, while she was at work. She said when she got home hours later, she checked on their children to make sure they were sleeping, ate dinner and went to bed.
Early the next morning, Myers said the twins “decided they wanted to play in their room rather than sleep.” At some point, she said the girls “decided to snuggle up and go back to sleep” in their cedar toy chest, noting that the twins like to sleep in “weird” places, the report said.
“Sometime during their sleep, one of them must have moved or kicked during a dream and it caused the lid of this old wooden cedar chest to close,” Myers shared. “Something I did not know and I’m sure many others don’t know is that most wooden toy chests once closed are AIR TIGHT and also soundproof.”
She said as the girls slept, they slowly ran out of oxygen within a couple of hours and died.
“They never even knew it was happening. There wasn’t a sudden gasp for air, it was a very slow transition from sleep to passing on,” Myers said.
By the time they found the twins, it was too late.
“It makes no sense to me and never will,” she said.
Myers warned other parents to destroy their children’s toy boxes such as the one they had.
“I hope if you have a toy box like this that you destroy it immediately!!!” she added.
Myers said she and Starr are “struggling to make sense” of what happened.
Lt. Blinn told TODAY.com in a statement that when first responders arrived at the home, “life-saving efforts were performed, but sadly both children were pronounced deceased.”
Blinn said there were adults and children in the home at the time of the incident and all are being interviewed, the report stated.
According to a Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) report published in 2014, there were at least 34 child deaths between 1996 and 2014 involving toy chests.
“Lids on millions of storage chests and trunks can automatically latch shut, locking children inside and suffocating them,” CPSC warned. “In addition, the lid supports on older toy chests can fail to prevent the lid from closing suddenly, entrapping or strangling children by the head or neck.”