Smyrna Mother Accused In Children's Deaths Appears In Court - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Smyrna Mother Accused In Children's Deaths Appears In Court

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SMRYNA, Tenn. – The case against a Smyrna mother accused in the heat-related deaths of her two young children has been bound over to grand jury.

Samantha Harper, age 25, appeared in court Thursday to face charges on two counts of especially aggravated child abuse. Her 3-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter were found dead in a car in Harper's driveway.

Harper made a very brief appearance in front of a Smyrna judge two weeks ago, showing no emotion as she asked for a public defender.

Her attorney said believed Harper was 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 on August 2. Investigators said Harper admitted she put the children in the car before going back into the house and falling asleep. She later found the children and called 911 emergency dispatch.

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.

Investigators also searched Harper's house and found what they described as "deplorable" conditions. The house was condemned.

Smyrna police said 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.

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