Couple charged with murder in death of son, 2, left in hot car, and endangering all 5 of their young kids

July 10, 2024
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7/9: CBS Evening News

19:53

Little Rock, Ark. — An Arkansas couple has been charged with capital murder after one of their young children left inside a hot vehicle died from apparent heat exhaustion, authorities said.

Prosecutors in Little Rock filed the murder charges Monday against Deja and Justin Rollins following their 2-year-old’s death. They have pleaded not guilty.

Little Rock police initially responded to a child abuse report Sunday afternoon at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, where the couple’s 3-year-old was receiving urgent medical treatment, reports CBS Little Rock affiliate KTHV. The child abuse report came from police in Jacksonville, Ark., according to Little Rock city officials. The couple lives in Jacksonville.

Little Rock officials say hospital security got a call from Jacksonville police saying the couple had four other children, ages 2, 4, 7 and 10, in a vehicle in the parking lot. The children were brought into the hospital for treatment and the 2-year-old died the next day, Little Rock police said.

Besides the murder charges, Deja and Justin Rollins each face charges of domestic battery, neglect and child endangerment of all five of their children, as well as animal cruelty and obstruction, KTHV says. Investigators found a malnourished dog at the Rollins’ residence in Jacksonville, just northeast of Little Rock, KTHV added.

Online court records didn’t list an attorney for the couple. The county public defender didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

The couple was being held without bond Tuesday. Prosecutors haven’t said whether they’ll seek the death penalty.

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