2 Shelby County boys, ages 3 and 1, dead after climbing into hot car, getting locked inside

Two young children died Saturday afternoon after authorities say they climbed into a vehicle outside their home and got locked inside for more than an hour.

Shelby County authorities responded about 3:30 p.m. Saturday to a residence off of County Road 25 in Montevallo, said Coroner Lina Evans. The parents told authorities the two boys – ages 3 and 1 – were thought to be playing in their rooms but had gone outside apparently.

The family frantically searched for them and eventually found them inside the vehicle. Both were unresponsive and rushed to Shelby Baptist Medical Center where they were later pronounced dead.

Evans said the boys had gotten into the vehicle sometime after 1 p.m. and were discovered about 3:30 p.m. Autopsies will be done in Montgomery Monday to determine the exact cause of death.

The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office is investigating, but Evans said it “unfortunately is just a tragic accident.” The boys’ names are not being released at this time. Temperatures on Saturday were in the 90s.

Their deaths mark the second time this week children have died in Alabama after being found in a hot car. On Sunday, 3-year-old Bentley Fowler was declared dead in a car on Chruch Street in the northwest Alabama town of Hodges. At the time, Fowler was the 15th child to die in 2020 in hot cars in the U.S. this year, according to KidsAndCars.org, a national nonprofit child safety organization.

In that case however, the boy’s parents, Dakota Heath Fowler, 20, and Brandi Michelle Burks, 22, were arrested on manslaughter charges, according to the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office.

On Wednesday, 3-year-old Kaiden Garner died in Florence and authorities initially believed that death resulted from heat exposure as well, but the investigation deemed the boy died from blunt force trauma. No arrests have been announced in that case.

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“Any time there’s a loss of a child, it’s just a very tragic event no matter if it’s by natural means or by accident or by some other means,” he said.