Jan. 14 (UPI) -- Three young children died this week after becoming trapped in a chest freezer on their Florida property, Suwannee County sheriff's officials said.
The children, ages 1, 4, and 6, were playing in the yard of their home Sunday when they climbed into the chest, the Suwannee County Sheriff's Office said Monday on Facebook.
The children were found by family members, who then called 911. When the deputies arrived, family members were performing CPR on the children.
"Unfortunately, all efforts to resuscitate the children were unsuccessful and all three children died," the sheriff's office said.
According to the Tallahassee Democrat, the mother of the 4-year-old was supervising the three children when she had to use the restroom. On returning 10 or 15 minutes later, and not finding the children anywhere, she awoke the grandmother of the other two children who was resting before work later that night.
The two women, who live with the three children at the residence, searched an adjacent vacant property before checking the freezer, which had been recently purchased by the grandmother and sat unplugged in the yard for four or five days.
They found the children inside, not breathing.
The freezer had an after-market hasp installed on its lid, the sheriff's office said.
"It is believed at this time, that when the children entered the freezer, and the lid closed, the hasp fell shut, trapping the children inside," the sheriff's statement said, adding that there was no padlock on the freezer.
No foul play was suspected, but an investigation was launched and will be forwarded to the Third Judicial Circuit State Attorney's Office.
The child welfare system knew of the children and launched its own investigation into the incident, the Tallahassee Democrat reported.
"The tragic deaths of these children are devastating," Florida Department of Children and Families spokeswoman DaMonica R. Smith said. "DCF is working with the family to provide grief support services as they mourn the terrible loss of their children.
"The department has opened a child death investigation and will continue to support law enforcement."