On Thursday, the Bronx District Attorney said it has yet to present the grand jury with evidence against the New York father whose 1-year-old twins were left in a hot car and died of heatstroke last week.
Juan Rodriguez, the clinical social worker who left his two children in his car for eight hours while he went to work at the Bronx VA hospital, was charged on Saturday with two counts for each child of manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, and endangering the welfare of a child. During a hearing on Thursday, prosecutors said their investigation into the incident was not complete, indicating that charges against Rodriguez may be reduced or dropped.
"We're appealing to her sense of justice to do what we believe to be the right thing, and that is to dismiss these charges," said defense attorney Joey Jackson after Thursday's hearing. "We understand that they will continue to evaluate all aspects of the case and we welcome their evaluation of that. We believe that at the conclusion of them evaluating all the facts, all the evidence and everything in this case, they will come to the conclusion that this was a horrible tragedy."
Before Rodriguez can be prosecuted, Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark must present evidence to the grand jury and convince jurors to approve the indictment.
The defendant has asserted the incident was a tragic mistake. After leaving his home in New York City with his three children on Friday morning, Rodriguez made his way to his 4-year-old son's daycare where he dropped him off. He then intended to drop the twins off at a separate daycare but he forgot, and instead traveled to the hospital in the Bronx. He parked the car in a sunny space, and when he returned to the space at 4 p.m., the children had already died. “I assumed I had dropped them off at daycare before I went to work,” he said, according to court documents. “I blanked out. My babies are dead.”
In a statement on Sunday, Juan's wife Marissa said that she is standing by her husband despite the severity of the mistake. “Though I am hurting more than I ever imagined possible, I still love my husband,” Sunday's statement read. “This was a horrific accident, and I need him by my side to go through this together.”
Rodriguez is scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 27, 2019, for another hearing.