3 young kids die after getting trapped inside freezer: Sheriff

Foul play isn't suspected but prosecutors will review the case.

January 14, 2019, 3:21 PM

Three young children have died after they became trapped in a freezer in Florida, the local sheriff said.

The deadly incident unfolded Sunday as the children -- ages 1, 4 and 6 -- were playing outside in their yard, the Suwannee County Sheriff's Office said Monday.

When an adult who was watching them -- the mother of one of the children -- went inside to the bathroom, the kids climbed into the freezer, which was recently brought to the home, the sheriff's office said.

When the woman returned to the yard, she couldn't find the children, so she woke up the other woman who was home and they scoured the property, the sheriff's office said.

The women opened the freezer -- which was not plugged in -- and found the kids inside, not breathing, so they called 911 and gave the children CPR, the sheriff's office.

The children were hospitalized and all died. It appears all three suffocated, Suwannee County Sheriff Sam St. John told ABC News Monday.

Foul play is not suspected but the case will be sent to the state attorney’s office for review, the sheriff's office said.

St. John, who called the deaths a "tragedy," said he has not ruled out the possibility of charges.

It's not clear why the children climbed into the freezer, but the sheriff's office said a hasp, or latch, was "installed on the lid in order to secure a padlock on it."

It's believed that when the kids climbed in, the hasp fell shut, trapping them, the sheriff's office said. The freezer didn't have a padlock.

All three children lived at the home, the sheriff said, and it appears no other children lived there.

Two of the children were siblings, the sheriff said, and the third was not related.

Florida's Department of Children and Families has been notified, the sheriff's office said.

ABC News' Ben Stein contributed to this report.

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