CHICAGO, Aug. 14 (UPI) -- A 21-year-old mother has been charged with child endangerment in the deaths of her 13-month-old twins, found underweight and overheated in their Chicago home.
Regina Lofton, who was to appear at a bail hearing Saturday, faces two counts of felony child endangerment resulting in death, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Authorities said twins Kimora and Kamari Roberson each weighed only 13 pounds. They died of hyperthermia, environmental exposure and failure to thrive due to maternal neglect, the Cook County medical examiner's office said.
Police responded to a call to the Lofton home in the 10600 block of South Wentworth Avenue about 5:50 p.m. Thursday. As officers arrived, a neighbor told the Tribune later, a woman screamed: "My babies! My babies!"
Paramedics took the baby girls to Roseland Community Hospital, where they were pronounced dead at 6:30 p.m.
"This is a senseless tragedy where two 1-year-old girls are dead, and that's just incomprehensible to me," Chicago police Superintendent Jody Weis at a news conference Friday. "It's horrific."
Undernourished children suffering failure to thrive -- low rate of increase in weight and other development -- can be more vulnerable to heat in a warm room, said Dr. Kelley Staley, associate medical director of child protective services at Comer Children's Hospital.
Hyperthermia, or abnormally high body temperature, can result in dehydration, salt imbalances and heart complications that can be fatal, Staley said.