A North Carolina mother facing two counts of murder in connection with the deaths of her daughters after she allegedly left the two girls in a hot car.
Launice Battle, 29, was arrested inside Duke Raleigh Hospital on Saturday after police were informed about the two deceased children. Battle appeared in court on Monday where she was denied bail.
The children were identified as Amora Milbourne, 3, and Trinity Milbourne, 2, of Cary, North Carolina. It is still unclear the location of the children’s deaths.
Battle’s father said that to his understanding, the girls were unintentionally left in the car, WRAL reported.
The news comes a few weeks after a 3-month-old baby was found deceased after allegedly being left in a hot car for up to two hours.
Hot Car Deaths
According to the national nonprofit KidsAndCars.org, 21 children have died this year as a result of hot car-related deaths, including Battle’s children.
More than 1,000 children have died in hot cars since 1990, with an average of 38 children dying each year from being left in a hot vehicle.
The nonprofit recorded the most hot-car-related fatalities in 2018 with 54 children, compared to 26 in 2020 and 23 in 2021.
Family members of Battle told WRAL she was a doting mother to the two girls and that her 6-year-old son was with his father at the time of the girls’ deaths.
“She was always there. She’s a caring and loving mother to her kids at the end of the day,” Battle’s cousin Keisha Harris told WRAL. “She’s not a cold-blooded murderer. She’s not a killer.”
Superior Court Judge James Ammons said that if convicted on the charges, Battle could face life without parole or the death penalty, The News & Observer reported.
“She was just a young girl, may have been experiencing depression or whatever the case may be,” Harris said. “She just made a bad decision. At the end of the day, she was a good mother to those girls.”
Another cousin of Battle told WRAL they love her regardless of the accusations.
“We love Launice no matter what, and we will support her no matter what,” Battle’s cousin Salacious Williams said. “This was a careless mistake.”
Cary police told Newsweek that they have not received any criminal complaints or reports of child abuse or neglect involving Battle.
I received your request this morning. This event occurred in Raleigh NC and they are handling this investigation. We don’t have any previous incidents of Ms. Battle related to child abuse/ neglect or any criminal complaints with Cary PD.
Cary police told Newsweek they have not received any criminal complaints or reports of child abuse or neglect involving Battle.
Battle is due again in court on September 19.
The Greenhouse Effect
There have been reports of children overheating in cars while the temperature was as low as 60 degrees, according to KidsandCars.
This is because temperatures can reach 125 degrees in minutes due to the greenhouse effect, which can result in cars heating up quickly regardless of the outside temperature.
“Being in a vehicle for any certain amount of time will take anyone’s temperature up by any number of degrees and for children, their bodies heat up by 3 to 5 times faster than adults,” Paige Stewart with Safe Kids Big Bend told WCTV in July.
Stewart recommends parents leave belongings such as a purse or phone in the backseat which requires them to go into the backseat before leaving the vehicle.
Newsweek reached out to the Raleigh Police Department, and Wake County District Attorney’s office for comment.
Update: 08/30/22 12:53 p.m. ET: This article was updated with comment from Cary Police Department.