HINESVILLE, Ga. (WSAV) – The biological mother of twin three-year-old girls found unresponsive Sunday in Hinesville says she has a lot of unanswered questions about their deaths.
Raelynn and Payton Keyes were found dead in a car in the backyard of a home on Augusta Way in the Griffin Park subdivision.
“There ain’t no words for it. We hit the floor,” said Skye Keyes, the girls’ biological mother, of the news.
According to Capt. Tracey Howard with the Hinesville Police Department, the twins were in a private foster care contracted through the State of Georgia, along with their two brothers, when the incident occurred.
Howard says the children were visiting the home of the caregivers’ fiancé and were last seen Saturday when they were placed in bed for the night.
“This is actually not the home of the caregiver or the children, this is someplace they come from time to time and do stay for extended periods of time,” Howard told News 3 earlier this week.
Hinesville Police say that on Sunday, the girls’ brothers, ages 6 and 8, told the caregiver the girls were not in their room and could not be found in the house.
The caregiver did tell authorities she had seen the girls playing that morning.
News 3 learned Tuesday that the caregivers searched the house and surrounding areas in the neighborhood before returning home to search their backyard again. It’s there that the girls were found unresponsive in the back seat of a car.
Hinesville Police officers were then called to the home. The department says police arrived shortly after 1:30 p.m.
“How do you not see three-year-olds from bedtime Saturday night, until they were found 1:30 in the afternoon? How do you not know where three-year-olds are?” said Keyes.
The mother says she requested to meet with the Department of Family and Children’s Services (DFCS) days before the tragedy happened.
“There’s been several complaints,” Keyes said. “My kids coming during visits and telling us that they’ve been slapped in the face, pinched, thumped in the head.”
News 3 reached out to DFCS for comment:
All of us at DFCS are heartbroken to learn of the tragic loss of Payton and Raelynn Keyes. We send our thoughts and prayers to the family of Payton and Raelynn and all whose lives have been touched by these children. The thousands of professionals at DFCS work tirelessly to ensure that children who have experienced abuse or neglect can find safety, recovery, and a full life, and we hate to see any child’s life cut short.
The Hinesville Police Department reported Tuesday that “preliminary autopsy results by the Liberty County Coroner’s Office have established cause of death as heat stroke and have been deemed accidental.”
News 3 asked for clarification on the “accidental” ruling on Wednesday. The department stated:
At this time, the Keyes’ case is still an active investigation with the Hinesville Police Department and no official findings have been released.
News 3 will continue to bring you updates as the investigation continues.