A New York father is facing a host of charges after authorities say he left his 1-year-old twins in the backseat of a car for eight hours while he went to work, resulting in their death.
According to reports, 39-year-old Juan Rodriguez was arraigned Saturday (July 27) on charges of manslaughter, endangering the welfare of a child and negligent homicide. Rodriguez reportedly hired a private attorney and paid $50,000 of his $100,000 bond. His next court date is August 1 where a grand jury will decide if he should be indicted.
Rodriguez’s attorney Joey Jackson spoke with CNN and said the negligent homicide charge carries a four-year maximum sentence and the manslaughter charge could mean he serves 15 years behind bars.
The family is “ripped apart,” Jackson said. “His mental state is very fragile based on what happened. It’s just an awful scenario.”
A judge asked that Rodriguez be placed on suicide watch.
The NYPD said the twins, Mariza and Phoenix Rodriguez, were found unconscious and unresponsive in the backseat of Rodriguez Honda sedan Friday. The National Weather Service reached a high of mid-80s. Rodriguez was working at a nearby VA hospital and by the time the cops and paramedics arrived the children were pronounced dead at the scene.
A close friend to Rodriguez, Temple Barros, said that he was a social worker at the VA hospital, and described him as an amazing father to all his children, not just the twins.
“Whatever they need, he’ll go out and get it.”