Three children ages 6, 4 and 1 got trapped inside an unplugged freezer Monday, leading them to suffocate.
Suwannee County deputies say the kids were playing on a trampoline in the backyard when the mother of the 4-year-old went inside to use the bathroom.
“It could have been anywhere from 10 minutes to 20 minutes that she was inside,” said Suwannee County Sheriff Sam St. John. “And then she comes back outside and she cannot find the children.”
Deputies say all three children climbed into the unplugged freezer chest and the door shut behind them.
“When the actual freezer lid came down, the latch came down and locked in place to where they couldn’t open the lid from the inside,” St. John said.
Deputies say the woman couldn’t find the children when she returned outside
She and another woman later found them in the freezer not breathing.
Deputies estimate the kids were found about 45 minutes later.
“It was about 3-feet-tall, 2-feet-wide, you have three of them inside, so it probably didn’t take them too long to burn up any air that was inside it,” St. John said.
Deputies say they don’t suspect any foul play, but charges may be filed.
Florida statute 823.07 states it is illegal to have an airtight unit, such as a freezer, abandoned on a property without the door removed—for the sole reason to prevent children from suffocating
“It could be like a neglect charge or like this freezer being left out with a lid on it with access to the kids,” St. John said. “That is a whole separate charge itself.”
The case has been sent to local prosecutors for review.