Amanda Hawkin, 19, a Texas teenage mom, whose deliberate ignorance led to the death of her two toddlers has raises a serious question: Is a teen mind “matured” enough to handle parenthood responsibilities, and how safe is a teen-pregnancy, even if it’s after legal marriage?
Amanda Hawkins pictured in her mugshots Source: Daily mail
Amanda Hawkins, of Kerrville, was arrested June 9, a day after her daughters, Addyson, 2, and Brynn, 1, died at a local hospital, the Kerr County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release.
Addyson,2 , Amanda, Brynn, 1 Image Heavy.com
Hawkins was charged with two counts of abandoning or endangering a child and is being held on $70,000 bail at the Bexar County Jail, police said. It is not clear if she has hired an attorney.
“This is by far the most horrific case of child endangerment that I have seen in the 37 years that I have been in law enforcement,”‘ Kerr County Sheriff Hierholzer said in a statement.
Sheriff Rusty Hierholzer said in a press release that the charges could be upgraded after the case is presented to a grand jury. It is being prosecuted by 216th Judicial District Attorney Lucy Wilke, who could not be reached for comment. Wilke told the San Antonio Express-News more charges could be forthcoming and she is reviewing the case. (The Sun)
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“These children were left in that car intentionally,” Hierholzer told KABB-TV. “Helpless little kids,” the sheriff said. “And it was totally preventable.”
Hawkins Was Inside a House Partying & Refused to Bring Her Daughters Inside When Someone Heard Them Crying, the Sheriff Says
Amanda Hawkins is accused of abandoning or endangering a child after the deaths of her daughters, Addyson Overgard-Eddy, 2, and Brynn Hawkins, 1, the Kerr County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release.
An investigation into their death began on June 8, after the girls died at University Hospital in San Antonio, the sheriff’s office said. A team from the sheriff’s office, the Kerrville Police Department, Texas Rangers and Child Protective Services carried out the investigation.
Investigators determined the girls were left in Hawkins SUV “intentionally” for more than 15 hours, the sheriff’s office said. Hawkins was inside a nearby friend’s home during that time, from the evening of Tuesday, June 6, to about noon on Wednesday, June 7, according to investigators.
The SUV’s windows were partially down during part of the 15 hours the kids were inside, and the temperature was about 60 degrees overnight, Sheriff Rusty Hierholzer told the Houston Chronicle. Temperatures rose to about 85 degrees at noon Wednesday, with humidity about 96 percent, meaning it could have felt like 105 degrees, the newspaper reports.
Police said a 16-year-old boy who was at the house went out to the SUV to check on the girls and spent time with them for a “little while,” but did not get them help or bring them inside, KABB-TV reports.
During the night of partying, friends told Hawkins they could hear the girls crying, the sheriff told the news station. The friends told Hawkins to bring her daughters inside, but she refused, according to the sheriff.
“She told them, ‘No it’s fine. They’ll cry themselves to sleep,’” the sheriff told the Washington Post.
Hierholzer said the girls didn’t have food, water or bathroom visits during the 15 hours inside the SUV.
Brynn Hawkins’ father, Amanda’s husband, Isaac Hawkins, could not be reached for comment. Addyson Overgard-Eddy’s father, Austin Overgard, has also not commented. Neither father is being charged in connection with the girls’ deaths and they both do not appear to have played any role in the incident, authorities say.
She First Claimed Her Daughters Collapsed While ‘Smelling Flowers,’ but Later Said She Was Just Afraid of Getting Into Trouble
Amanda Hawkins first brought her daughters to Peterson Regional Medical Center on June 7, the Kerr County Sheriff’s Office said. She told authorities that the girls were in grave condition when she sought help.
According to the sheriff’s office, Hawkins was accompanied by a 16-year-old male, who has not been identified. She told hospital personnel that she was with the teen boy and her daughters at Flat Rock Lake and “the girls were smelling flowers,” police said. “When they got ready to leave the 1-year-old collapsed and shortly after that the 2-year-old collapsed,” Hawkins told hospital staff.
She suggested that the girls might have smelled something poisonous, police said.
“There’s a lake close to where they were,” Hierholzer told The Washington Post. “She said the little girls were walking around smelling flowers. She didn’t know if maybe they’d ingested or touched a poisonous flower.”
But investigators later learned she was not telling the truth after the story “unravelled” quickly. She confessed that the girls had been in her car outside a friend’s house for more than 15 hours, according to police.
“Upon discovering the girls, the mother attempted to (bathe) them and did not immediately want to take the girls to the hospital because she didn’t want to get into trouble,” the sheriff’s office said.
The sheriff said Hawkins attempted to cover-up what happened to the girls by washing them while they were likely unconscious and re-dressing them.
The girls were transported to University Hospital in San Antonio because of their condition. They were taken off ventilators and died about 5 p.m. Wednesday.
An autopsy was conducted by the Bexar County Medical Examiner’s Office on June 9, but the results have not yet been released.
The investigation is ongoing.
Hawkins & Her Husband Were Evicted in May & She Set Up a GoFundMe Account to Try to Raise Money for a New House
The couple were evicted from a home in Kerrville in May, according to court documents. The couple’s landlord sued them in Kerr County court. A judgement was awarded to the landlord on May 3, ordering them to pay her past rent of $1,984.99 and court costs of $211, with a post-judgement interest of 5 percent beginning May 4. They were also ordered to leave the home by May 8, with rent of $28.33 per day until they left.
Amanda Hawkins started a GoFundMe account to try to raise money to find a new home, the San Antonio Express-News reports. She was asking for $1,500 in financial donations, but did not raise any money.
“I’m trying to raise money to get us into a home. We are living with my grandparents. We are both working but it’s still hard. Any help is greatly appreciated. We will be buying this house,” she wrote, according to the newspaper.
Amanda and Isaac Hawkins are estranged, the newspaper reports. They were married in 2015, she posted on Facebook.
A neighbor, who did not want to be named, at the duplex where Hawkins, her husband and daughters lived, told the newspaper, “It’s terrible. The poor little things.”
She said there was a “large mess” left behind when the Hawkins family was evicted.
“One of the little girls was always running around in a diaper. No shoes, no nothing,” the woman told the newspaper.
Amanda & Isaac Hawkins Were Investigated by Child Protective Services Last Year & Investigators Say It Wasn’t the First Time She Left Her Kids in the SUV
Amanda and Isaac Hawkins were investigated by the state Child Protective Services agency last year, the San Antonio Express-News reports. The agency could not provide details about its interaction with the family. The investigation took place in September 2016, CPS spokeswoman Mary Walker told the newspaper.
In July 2016, Amanda Hawkins wrote a Facebook post about concerns others had raised about how she was caring for her children:
If you want my mom to check up and ask questions about if my daughters are taken care of that is messed up. You can ask me yourselves or leave us alone! We are great here. Focus on something else. My daughters have everything they want, and need, plus so much more. They get their checkups they get their shots. They get everything. You don’t see us so just stop. The only people who see us are my mom and my grandparents. Ugh i feel so mad. How dare someone question if i take care of my kids
In conversations in the comments with friends, Hawkins wrote, “Exactly. It pissed me off so much. Like you have that audacity to sit there and question if my babies are taken care of?,” after a friend said she knows Hawkins takes “great care of them.”
She also wrote, “I would make a trip to kerrville just to beat some ass. Show up like ‘you said what now?’”
In another post, about her daughter Brynn, she wrote, “This baby girl is always so cheerful! Even though the only person she wants is momma! She has turned out to be such a mommas girl! as soon as she sees me she cries and wants me! I’m so blessed to have her.”
Hawkins’ friend, Miriam Davis, told KSAT-TV she was concerned about how Hawkins treated her daughters and considered calling Child Protective Services. She said she regrets she never did that.
“I guess I just hesitated for so long. I didn’t want her kids to be in the system, but I didn’t know they would die if they didn’t,” she told the news station. “If anyone feels something’s not right, they need to call CPS, because you don’t want two kids to die. It’s just not fair.”
Davis told the news station she has known Hawkins since high school.
“We both had kids, and it was nice to hang out,” Davis said. “Addy was so helpful. She would like to go get you things and bring ‘em to you. Brynn was just learning how to walk and she was toddling all over the place.”
In July 2016, she wrote a post criticizing Black Lives Matter following the shootings of police officers in Dallas, saying people shouldn’t get in trouble:
I will be praying for the officers families. This world is awful. It is no longer a world i want my kids to grow up in. There is very few good people anymore. It is so sad. ALL LIVES MATTER! All cops do is protect us and fight for the law. They keep us safe from drugs and everything else. You know i bet when youre in trouble and you need help who you going to call 911 right? Well guess what no matter what they will still go help you even if you say “oh i hate cops, f*** the police.” They are doing their job! Dont do stuff to get you in trouble then you wouldn’t have to mess with them!
I am so tired of hearing oh so and so’s life matters blah blah BLAH!! EVERY SINGLE LIFE MATTERS. Do y’all not get that? We all are gifts of God. And yes there might be some crooked cops but you know what that is ALL OVER this world! Not just cops. And if a cop arrests you or holds you down you probably deserve it. Dont do stuff that is illegal. If they tell you to do something then do it! It is really simple. Most of these people are getting shot cause when the cops say to do something they fight back. Dont be stupid just listen. And dont do illegal stuff and dont get in trouble. It is really simple guys. Im tired of everyone putting down cops and saying crap about them. They protect all of us!!
Kerr County Sheriff Rusty Hierholzer told KABB-TV his agency has “no history” with Amanda Hawkins and the family, but said investigators learned that it was not the first time Hawkins left her children alone in the SUV.
The girls’ death shocked the region and their family.
“I had the two most beautiful grandbabies,” Alisha Eddy, Amanda Hawkins, mother, told the Houston Chronicle. “I don’t agree with what happened … but I love my daughter. I’m there for my daughter.”
An aunt, who did not give her name, told the newspaper, “We’re just bewildered and confused.”
Sheriff Rusty Hierholzer told KTSA-TV, “It’s just one of those deals that’s extremely hard on investigators having to work these cases where you’ve got a one-year old and two year old real cute little blonde hair, blue eyed girls. It’s really hard. We’ve all got kids or grandkids.”
The Sheriff Says It’s the ‘Most Horrific’ Case of Child Abuse He’s Seen in 37 Years
Kerr County Sheriff Rusty Hierholzer said in a press release that more charges could be brought against Amanda Hawkins after a grand jury hears the case.
“This is by far the most horrific case of child endangerment that I have seen in the 37 years that I have been in law enforcement,” Hierholzer said.
He told the Washington Post most cases where a child is left in a car are “accidents,” but Hawkins, “knew those kids were back there. She left them in that car.”
The abandoning or endangering a child charges are second-degree felonies because the victims were placed in “imminent danger of death or bodily injury,” according to state law. She could face between 2 to 20 years in state prison if convicted of the charges.
The sheriff told KABB-TV the 16-year-old boy who accompanied Hawkins to the hospital and checked on the girls during the night could also face charges.
Police have not released details about the 16-year-old or his relationship to the girls and Hawkins.
Hierholzer said the teen will “probably have to face some charges,” and “does have some culpability in this.”
It is not clear if anyone else at the house could face charges.
Hawkins is still being held at the Bexar County Jail after being arrested in San Antonio, and is expected to be transferred to Kerr County this week. She has not yet appeared in court. (Heavy.com)
AMANDA HAWKINS AS A CHRISTIAN
It turns out that Hawkins, who lied about a trip to the lake when she finally brought them to the hospital, is a Christian who regularly posts about parenting and the Bible.
Like this post, made before she killed her children, featuring 2 Timothy 3, about the “Dangers of the Last Days.”
If only she hadn’t ended theirs.
PSYCHOLOGY: EFFECTS OF TEENAGE PREGNANCY
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Teenage motherhood is an important independent predictor of poor mental and physical health in adulthood. The study concludes that the poorer mental health of teenage mothers has implications for the next generation and contributes to the intergenerational transmission of disadvantage. (University of Southampton)
- Teenage mothers face high levels of stress that can lead to mental health concerns.
- Teen moms often don’t complete higher levels of education, limiting their income over time.
- It’s important to seek help and get support if you’re facing a teenage pregnancy alone.
Some pregnancies were unplanned. A teenage pregnancy can change the course of a young mom’s life. It puts her in a place where she’s responsible not only for herself, but also for another human being.
Carrying a baby and becoming a mom not only creates physical changes. Women also go through mental changes. Young moms face added stress from:
- sleepless nights
- arranging child care
- making doctor’s appointments
- attempting to finish high school
While not all teenage mothers are affected greatly by mental and physical changes, many are. If you experience mental health changes after childbirth, it’s important to reach out to others and seek professional help.
Research on teen pregnancy
A research study published in the journal Pediatrics studied more than 6,000 Canadian women, ranging in age from adolescents to adults. The researchers found that girls ranging from 15 to 19 experienced postpartum depression at a rate that was twice as high as women aged 25 and older.
Another study reported that teen mothers face significant levels of stress that can then lead to increased mental health concerns. In addition to higher rates of postpartum depression, teenage mothers have higher rates of depression.
They also have higher rates of suicidal ideation than their peers who aren’t mothers. Teen mothers are more likely to experience posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than other teenage women, as well. This could be because teen moms are more likely to have gone through mental and/or physical abuse.
Mental health conditions in teen moms
Teen moms might face a number of mental health conditions related to childbirth and being a new mom. Examples of these conditions include:
- Baby blues: The “baby blues” are when a woman experiences symptoms for one to two weeks after giving birth. These symptoms include mood swings, anxiety, sadness, overwhelm, difficulty concentrating, trouble eating, and difficulty sleeping.
- Depression: Being a teen mom is a risk factor for depression. If a mom has a baby before 37 weeks or experiences complications, depression risks can increase.
- Postpartum depression: Postpartum depression involves more severe and significant symptoms than baby blues. Teen moms are twice as likely to experience postpartum depression as their adult counterparts. Women sometimes mistake postpartum depression for the baby blues. Baby blues symptoms will go away after a few weeks. Depression symptoms won’t.
Additional symptoms of postpartum depression include:
- difficulty bonding with your baby
- overwhelming fatigue
- feeling worthless
- panic attacks
- thinking of harming yourself or your baby
- difficulty enjoying activities you once did
If you experience these effects after giving birth, help is available. It’s important to know that you aren’t alone. Remember, many women experience postpartum depression.
Risk factors for mental health concerns
Teenage mothers are more likely to fall in demographic categories that make the risk of mental illness higher. These risk factors include:
- having parents with low education levels
- a history of child abuse
- limited social networks
- living in chaotic and unstable home environments
- living in low-income communities
In addition to these factors, teenage mothers are more likely to experience significant levels of stress that can increase risk for mental health disorders.
But some factors can reduce the likelihood that a teenage mom will have psychiatric issues. If a teen mom has a supportive relationship with her mother and/or the baby’s father, her risks are reduced.
While teen pregnancy can have a significant effect on a young mother’s mental health, it impacts other aspects of her life too. It’s important to consider these factors:
According to a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, teenage parents often don’t complete higher levels of education. They often have more restricted economic opportunities than older parents.
Around one-half of teen moms have their high school diploma by age 22. Only 10 percent of teen moms typically complete a two- or four-year degree. While there are certainly exceptions, high school completion and higher education is typically associated with a greater ability to earn more income over the course of a lifetime.
According to a study published in Maternal Child Health Journal, teenage mothers had the poorest physical health of all categories of women studied, including women who engaged in unprotected sex. Teenage mothers may neglect their physical health while caring for their babies. They may also not have access to or know about healthy foods and eating. They are also more likely to be obese.
According to the National Institutes of Health, there’s a higher risk of the following in teenage pregnancy:
- contracting STDs (sexually transmitted diseases)
- premature delivery
- delivering at low birth weight
Impact to the child
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, children born to adolescent parents face greater challenges throughout their lives. These challenges include getting less education and worse behavioral and physical health outcomes.
According to Youth.gov, other effects to a child of a teenage mother include:
- greater risk for lower birth weight and infant mortality
- less prepared to enter kindergarten
- rely more heavily on publicly funded health care
- are more likely to be incarcerated at some time during adolescence
- are more likely to drop out of high school
- are more likely to be unemployed or underemployed as a young adult
These effects can create a perpetual cycle for teenage mothers, their children, and their children’s children.
Teenage motherhood doesn’t have to mean a young woman won’t be successful in life. But it’s important they consider what other young mothers before them have faced related to overall health, financial stability, and the health of their child.
Young mothers should talk to a school counselor or social worker regarding services that can assist them in finishing school and living a healthier life.
TIPS for teen mothers
Seeking support from others can really improve a teen mom’s mental health. This includes the support of:
- adult role models
- physicians and other healthcare providers
Many community centers also have services specifically for teen parents, including day care during school hours.
It’s important that teen moms seek prenatal care as early as recommended, usually in the first trimester. This support for your and your baby’s health promotes better outcomes, both during pregnancy and afterward.
Teenage moms are more likely to have positive mental health and financial outcomes when they finish high school. Many high schools offer programs or will make arrangements with a teen mom to help her finish her education. While finishing school can be an extra stressor, it’s important for the future of a teen mom and her baby.
Teenagers who give birth are at greater risk for mental health concerns than older moms. But being aware of the risks and knowing where to find help can relieve some stress and pressure.
Being a new mom isn’t easy, no matter your age. When you’re a teen mom, taking care of yourself while you also care for your little one is especially important. (Healthline by Rachel Nall)