MOBILE, Ala (Reuters) - Twin sisters face three counts each of reckless murder in connection with the burning deaths of three of their children in Atmore, Alabama.
Akeevia Lajoseia Abner and Tekeevia Lajoseialan Abner, 18, were taken into custody on Monday by the state fire marshal. A bond hearing has not yet been set.
Escambia County District Attorney Steve Billy said the women left 3-year-old Aniyia Abner, 3-year-old Takia Abner and 22-month-old Michael Coleman alone on Wednesday night last week.
The fire marshal’s preliminary investigation indicated an oven left open -- possibly as a heat source -- could be the source of the blaze that killed the unattended children.
In a prepared statement, Billy said the women showed “an extreme indifference” to the children’s lives and “created a grave risk of death to the children” by leaving them alone.
Scott Pilgreen, an assistant state fire marshal, said one child was found in a bedroom and the other two in a hallway. When fire personnel arrived just before 8 p.m. Wednesday, they found the home engulfed in flames and all three children unconscious, he said.
The children were transported to Atmore Community Hospital, where each died a short time later. The preliminary cause of death has been listed as smoke inhalation, but all the children suffered burns as well. Their bodies have been transported to Mobile for autopsies, Billy told Reuters on Tuesday.
It was not immediately known which children belong to which mother or if either woman has any other children not present in the home at the time of the blaze.
Reporting by Kelli Dugan; Editing by Jerry Norton