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Sheriff: No charges to be filed against SC father in twin toddlers’ deaths

Published: Sep. 21, 2021 at 10:27 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 21, 2021 at 12:40 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - The sheriff of Richland County said Tuesday morning the father of twin boys who died after being left inside a vehicle will not face charges.

Sheriff Leon Lott said after “a very intense investigation” of the Sept. 1 incident over the past three weeks, the sheriff’s office presented evidence to the solicitor’s office.

“The solicitor’s office has decided that no charges will be brought,” he said.

Lott called the deaths of 20-month-old brothers Bryson and Braden McDaniel a “horrible, horrible, tragic accident” at a Tuesday morning news conference.

“The father was under some intense pressure at work that really had his mind somewhere else that day,” Lott said. “And in his mind, he really believed that he dropped the two boys off at that had daycare. There was no doubt in his mind that he had done that.”

Lott said his interview with the boys’ father was one of the more “heart-wrenching” interviews you would ever see.

“The pure emotion that came out was not something that you could fake,” Lott said.

At the end of the workday, the father went to the daycare center in Blythewood to pick up his sons and discovered they were not there, and realize he left them in the car.

“At that point, everything was done medically that could have been done, but it was too late,” Lott said.

The boys were found unresponsive in a vehicle on Sept. 1 in the parking lot of Sunshine House on Wilson Boulevard in Blythewood, deputies said.

“There’s no justice to be sought here, just prayers,” Rutherford said at Tuesday’s news conference.

She urged parents who drive vehicles equipped with rear-seat reminders to turn them on.

“There are so many stressors with COVID-19, with just the world changing, look in the back seat. Make sure that you’ve dropped off the children,” she said. “For every childcare center, baby center, caregiver out there: We urge you, if the child does not show up, call the family. It could save a life.”

Both Lott and Rutherford asked the community to continue praying for the family.

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