Akeevia Lajoseia Abner and Tekeevia Lajoseialan Abner from Atmore, Alabama, twin sisters, have been arrested for murder after their three toddlers were left alone to die in a fire in their home.
The twin sisters, 18, were taken into custody on Monday by the state fire marshal.
The victims, who died in a house fire while their mothers were out, were 3-year-old Aniyia Abner, 3-year-old Takia Abner and 22-month-old Michael .
A preliminary investigation indicated an oven left open could be the source of the blaze that killed the toddlers.
Investigators suggested the oven could have been left open to keep the children warm.
They also found a mattress inside the house blocked the door, so the children would have been unable to escape.
Escambia County District Attorney Steve Billy said the women showed “an extreme indifference” to the children’s lives and “created a grave risk of death to the children” by leaving them alone.
Scott Pilgreen, an assistant state fire marshal, said one child was found in a bedroom and the other two in a hallway.
When firefighters arrived just before 8:00 p.m. Wednesday, they found the home engulfed in flames and all three children unconscious, Scott Pilgreen said.
The three toddlers were transported to Atmore Community Hospital, where each died a short time later.
The preliminary cause of death has been listed as smoke inhalation, but all the children suffered burns as well.
Toddlers’ bodies have been transported to Mobile for autopsies, said Steve Billy.
It was not immediately known which children belong to which mother or if either woman has any other children not present in the home at the time of the blaze.
The twin sisters were taken into custody by the State Fire Marshal and booked into the Escambia County, Alabama, Detention Center. They were each arrested on three counts of reckless murder.
If found guilty, Akeevia Lajoseia Abner and Tekeevia Lajoseialan Abner could receive ten years to life for each count.
Neighbour Sandra Thomas told Fox News: “The mothers, they are already in a prison in their minds because they have to live with the fact they are responsible for their children dying.”
The family has made funeral arrangements for the children. A service will be held Thursday, November 10, at New Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church.