Mom Accused Of Children's Heat-Related Deaths In Court
SMYRNA, Tenn. – The woman accused in the heat-related deaths of her two young children was briefly in court Thursday.
Samantha Harper, 25, faces two counts of especially aggravated child abuse. Harper made a
very brief appearance in front of a Smyrna judge, showing no emotion as she
asked for a public defender.
Her attorney believes
she is innocent and that her children's death from heat stroke was nothing more
than an accident.
Three-year-old Daniel Marise and two-year-old Savannah Marise were found in the driveway of Harper's home on Old Nashville Highway last Thursday afternoon. Police said Harper admitted she put the children in the car, fell asleep, and later found the children and called 911. Officials believed the children were in the car for about an hour.
Police said the children's father was not home at the time of the incident.
Police also searched Harper's house during their investigation and found what they described as "deplorable" conditions. The house was condemned.
Smyrna police say Harper had no criminal history. However, on September 29, 2011, La Vergne Police filed a child neglect report against Harper, which resulted in a referral to the Department of Children's services.
Harper remained in the Rutherford County jail. Other charges were pending. A preliminary hearing was set for August 30, 2012.