Man arrested on murder complaints after his two children die in locked vehicle, police say

A man was arrested on complaints of murder after his two children died after being left in a locked vehicle for several hours Saturday afternoon, police said.

Dustin Dennis, 31, was arrested and booked into the Tulsa County jail on Saturday night on two complaints of second-degree murder.

Dennis told police he drove to a convenience store about noon Saturday with his two children then returned home with the children in his truck, according to an arrest and booking report.

He told detectives he passed out and was asleep for four to five hours, and could not locate the children when he woke up.

He told authorities he eventually located the children on the floorboard of the truck and that they were dead. He told authorities he brought the children's bodies into the house.

A neighbor had video showing Dennis exiting the vehicle and locking it before going into his house, without removing the children from the vehicle, the report said.

Saturday's high temperature was 94 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

There were no other children in the residence in the 1700 block of East 61st Street South, and the mother does not live in Tulsa, police said.

Dennis was arrested without incident and booked into the jail. He was being held on $1 million bond.

Mother Speaks After Children Found Dead In Hot Vehicle

Sunday, June 14th 2020, 11:10 pm
By: Amelia Mugavero

TULSA, Okla. - **Update** Dustin Dennis has been released from jail after surveillance video confirmed that the children managed to get into the truck on their own. **
Cheyenne Trent says her biggest question now is "why." ​

Trent’s children, four-year-old Tegan and three-year-old Ryan, were everything to her.

"A lot of hurt knowing that I won't be able to hold my babies again," Trent said.

Trent hasn’t stopped crying after the deaths of her babies.

"I won't get to touch or hold them,” Trent said. “And not being able to tuck them in at night or give them kisses is killing me right now.” ​

Tulsa police said the children died in their father's truck Saturday night after being locked inside for over five hours. ​Police said Dustin Dennis claims he "removed the children from the vehicle and a short time later, passed out and was asleep for four to five hours."

Authorities were able to use surveillance video from neighbors to identify Dennis.

Dennis was in jail facing two counts of second-degree murder but was released on Monday after surveillance video confirmed that the children managed to get into the truck on their own.

Trent said she and Dennis, her ex-boyfriend, had equal custody of the children.

Trent said the children loved their father and never had any issues with his parenting. Trent was scheduled to have the children this week, but Dennis begged to have the children this weekend.

"If I had just been mean and said, ‘No, no, you can't have them,’ none of this would've happened,” Trent said. “They would've been safe at home. I feel like it’s my fault.”

Tulsa Country District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler said it feels like déjà vu with the deaths of toddlers Tony and Miracle Crook, the two toddlers who were found unresponsive last month. The Crook toddlers were laid to rest Saturday morning. ​

"The first thought that went through my head was, ‘Here we go again,’ Kunzweiler said. “And think about those first responders and they’re having to deal with a situation like this. I can’t imagine having been here within the last month desperately trying to find the two children who are missing and now we’re at a new another scene with two other children."

Sergeant Mark Kraft with the TPD Child Crisis Unit urges the public to be more watchful of other people's children and to report peculiar behavior.

"When the Crook children went missing, so many people saw those children out alone and all that it would’ve taken was one person to call," Kraft said. “That’s all it takes: one person to call.”

Trent wants to know why her babies are never coming back home. ​

"If I was to see Dustin right now, I would be 'why?' Those were our babies!” Trent said. “They were supposed to be the top priority. They were supposed to be everything. He took away so much. He took everything.”

Trent described Tegan as sassy and loved to dance while Ryan loved to swim and ride horses.

The only comfort Trent has right now is they were together when they died.​

There is a GoFundMe that was set up by the family to pay for the children’s funeral expenses. You can donate here.

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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.