By Sasha Gonzales
The family of twin babies who died after their father forgot them inside a sweltering car in the Bronx is asking the public to help them cover burial costs and legal expenses.
As of Monday night, the family of Juan Rodriguez had used their GoFundMe page to raise $48,500–$11,500 short of their $60,000 goal.
Rodriguez, a 39-year-old social worker and Iraq War veteran, left 1-year-old Luna Rodriguez and twin sister Phoenix inside his parked Honda Accord while working a shift at the James J. Peters Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Kingsbridge Friday.
The twins were inside the car with its windows closed for more than eight hours before Rodriguez realized he’d forgotten to drop them off at day care, police said.
Rodriguez and his wife Marissa, along with their other children, are trying “to process this unconscionable nightmare,” according to the GoFundMe page.
“We kindly ask for your love and support,” the page reads. “Life will never be the same for them. Beyond being completely devastated and heart-broken, the road ahead is a difficult one, between funeral arrangements, the media frenzy preventing them from returning home, home and legal expenses, and lost wages.”
The page said Rodriguez has “dedicated his life to public service, positively affecting thousands of lives. Juan is an honest and hard-working man. A man who now has to deal with the same type of traumatic loss that he has helped others cope with in the past.”
Rodriguez, who told police he “blanked out” and forgot his kids were in the car, is charged with criminally negligent homicide, manslaughter, and endangering the welfare of a child. He was released on $100,000 bond following his arraignment Saturday.
Paramedics found the babies lifeless and foaming at the mouth in the backseat, their temperatures having reached 108 degrees, authorities said. The siblings were pronounced dead at the scene.
“We are asking for your support, to help them get through this horrible and dark moment, and to find peace during this nightmare,” the family’s GoFundMe page said.