SUWANNEE COUNTY, Florida — Authorities say three young children are dead after being found unresponsive inside an unplugged chest freezer Sunday evening.
The Suwannee County Sheriff’s Office deputies and fire rescue personnel called to the scene arrived and found family members performing CPR on the children. The children where taken to an area hospital, where they were declared dead.
The children, ages 1, 4, and 6, were playing outside in the yard, when for unknown reasons, they climbed inside of a chest freezer that had recently been brought to the home, an investigation found. The freezer was not plugged in or brought inside.
Deputies said the adult woman who was watching the kids was inside using the restroom when the children climbed in the freezer. When the woman returned to the yard, she couldn't find the children, so she woke up the other woman who was at home and they began to search the property and an adjacent vacant home for the children.
When they opened the chest freezer, they discovered all three children inside of it, not breathing, and began resuscitation efforts and called 911.
Upon further inspection of the freezer, a hasp had been installed on the lid in order to secure a padlock on it. Deputies believe when the children entered the freezer, the lid closed and the hasp fell shut, trapping the children inside. There was no padlock on the freezer.
The Florida Department of Children and Families has also been notified. The investigation is still ongoing, but at this time, foul play is not suspected.
The case has been forwarded to the Third Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office for review.