Florida authorities determined that no charges would be filed following the deaths of three children who passed away earlier this month after getting stuck in a freezer while playing outside, the sheriff’s office said. (Suwannee County Sheriff’s Office)
No charges will be filed following the deaths of three children who passed away earlier this month after getting stuck in a freezer while playing outside, the sheriff’s office said.
The decision announced Friday came roughly two weeks after the “tragic” Jan. 13 fatalities of Dawlton Lee Delbridge, 6, Kaliegh Mae Meeks, 19 months, and Brooklyn Leigh Jackson, 4, who died at a home in Live Oak after they were found “trapped inside of a chest freezer,” the Suwannee County Sheriff’s Office said on Facebook.
The sheriff’s office had given their investigation’s findings to the Third Judicial Circuit of Florida State Attorney’s Office, which arrived at the conclusion.
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“Third Judicial Circuit of Florida State Attorney, Jeff Seigmeister, after reviewing all the evidence, the totality of the circumstances leading up to the children entering the freezer, the actions the adults took upon discovering the children missing along with the actions they took upon finding the children unresponsive has decided that no criminal charges will be filed in this case,” the office wrote on Facebook.
The sheriff’s office provided the letter from Seigmeister with the decision, which said that there was “no evidence of foul play” and “nothing to suggest the deaths resulted in any intentional or malicious act.”
Brooklyn lived at the residence with her mother and Dawlton and Kaliegh lived there with their grandmother, according to The Associated Press.
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On the day of the incident, the three children had been playing outside. One of the women had been watching the kids before going inside “for a relatively short amount of time,” Seigmeister said in the letter. Upon realizing that the kids were missing, the two began searching and found them “in a freezer in the yard,” the letter said.
“All three children died due to a lack of oxygen in the freezer,” Seigmeister said.
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Following the incident, it was determined that “when the children entered the freezer, and the lid closed, the hasp fell shut, trapping the children inside,” the sheriff’s office previously explained.
The freezer on the property was being temporarily stored in the yard until the women could get help moving it inside the home, Seigmeister wrote in the letter, later adding that neither woman had tested positive for drugs.
Fox News’ Madeline Farber and The Associated Press contributed to this report.