TULSA, Okla. — An Oklahoma father arrested after his two young children were found dead inside a hot truck over the weekend has been released after surveillance video showed the kids getting into the vehicle on their own.
Dustin Lee Dennis, who was facing second-degree murder charges, told police he went to a convenience store with the children and returned home to take a nap, according to KJRH. He said he fell asleep for four to five hours and awoke to find 3-year-old Ryan and 4-year-old Teagan in the truck.
Tulsa police and the Child Crisis Unit received a call around 5:30 p.m. Saturday. They found both children dead.
“Video surveillance footage from a neighbor’s home confirmed that the children managed to get into the truck and tragically never got out,” the DA’s office said in a statement. “Based upon that newly discovered evidence the detectives immediately reported it to our office.”
Dennis was released on a personal recognizance bond and no formal charges have been filed in the case.
“All we wish is for more time,” said Chanteil Keys, the children’s aunt. “I can’t imagine what it was like in that vehicle. It would have been literally like being in an oven. Hopefully, they were asleep and went peacefully, but that, that is unknown.”
The high temperature outside was 95 degrees that day.
“After about an hour, I think, on a 90-degree day, it can get up to 119 degrees inside,” said Matthew Arroyo, field operations supervisor for the Emergency Medical Services Authority.
“It is a 100-percent preventable thing. That never has to happen,” Keys said. “Always check your back seat.”