Three Children Found Dead Locked Inside a Freezer

Three Children Found Dead Locked Inside a Freezer January 15, 2019

Three children were found dead inside an unplugged freezer outside of a home in Florida. The children aged 1,  4, and six years old were playing outside unsupervised when they climbed into a chest freezer for unknown reasons. After searching the yard, an adult female opened the freezer and found the children unresponsive.

According to an update on Suwannee County Sheriff’s Facebook page, police responded to a call at the home on Sunday. The caller told dispatch they located three unresponsive children inside a freezer.

When police arrived, two women were giving the children CPR. Once first responders arrived, they transported the three children to a local hospital. Medical personnel attempted to resuscitate the children, but their attempts failed. The children died at the hospital.

Police at the scene interviewed the women that lived at home. They learned that the two women were roommates. Two of the children were the grandchildren of one woman. The other child lived with their mother in the home.

During the afternoon, one of the women took the three children outside to play. While the children played, the woman went inside briefly to use the restroom. When she returned from using the bathroom, she could not find the children anywhere.

As she searched for the children, she ran inside to wake up her roommate. Her roommate was sleeping after working an overnight shift. When the roommate woke up, the two women went back outside to find the children.

The women had recently purchased a large freezer. According to police, the freezer was not plugged in and was sitting outside the residence. One of the women opened the freezer door and found the children inside and not breathing.

Upon looking at the freezer, police noticed an after-market hinge installed on the unit. The latch allowed a padlock to be used on the freezer. Police determined the children climbed inside the freezer, closed the lid, and the latch prevented them from getting out of the unit.

Despite the gravity of the situation, police say they do not suspect foul play. However, the investigation is on-going. The sheriff’s office will forward the case to the state attorney for review. There is no indication if prosecutors will file charges.

The sheriff’s office notified the Florida Department of Children and Families about the incident.

Police have not released the identity of the children or the adult women in the case.

The last moments of these children’s lives had to have been terrifying for them. It’s hard to imagine that the woman would not have heard the children screaming. This begs the question of how long the children were left outside unsupervised.

Hopefully, a thorough investigation will determine if neglect by the women contributed to the death of the children.


*Katie Joy is a blogger and freelance writer. Her work is featured on Upworthy, Huffington Post, Yahoo Parents, Mamamia, Daily Beast, Cafe Stir, Newsweek, Jezebel, and The Daily Mail. She writes articles on parenting, disability advocacy, debunking pseudoscience, atheism, and crimes against women and children.

She co-hosts the YouTube show, “The Smoking Nun,” with Kyle Curtis. The show airs weekly and tackles pseudoscience, current events, and crime stories.

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  • Ellen Mottley Tannenbaum

    The reason why freezers do not come with padlock hinges/clasps is for this very reason. They also come with key locks to prevent kids from getting inside in the first place. It has also long been the recommendation that the doors be completely removed from fridges and freezers not in use . Because kids do exactly this, accidentally get trapped and suffocate. There is not that much aor in one that is not plugged in, so they would have probably lost consciousness pretty quickly. Blaming these women with no evidence yet to the contrary is cruel, but r at least irresponsible to be spreading around the internet at this point in the story.

  • GShelley

    “It’s hard to imagine that the woman would not have heard the children screaming. This begs the question of how long the children were left outside unsupervised.”
    I have no idea how well sound gets out of these freezers, or where it was located in relation to the rest of the house, or even how long it would take for the children to become unconscious, so couldn’t even speculate on if it is surprising they weren’t heard

  • Knitting Cat Lady

    Cooling units are fairly sound proof, as the mechanisms that are used for thermals insulation work quite well four sound, too.

    There’s also a lot of ambient sound outside. Depending where you live (I used to live next to the autobahn) this could mask any sound the kids made.

    And then there’s the fact that there actually isn’t that much air in these things in the first place. The three kids would have lost consciousness within a few minutes. They might not have realized they were trapped.

    It doesn’t take long for kids to get into dangerous situations. When I was 15 months old my parents had one of those ‘I thought she was with you?!’ moments. And I almost drowned in a fountain filled with 10 cm water.

    I would stick with tragic accident over negligence for now.