A mother is speaking out on Dr. Phil after her husband accidentally left their 1-year-old twins in a hot car in July.
On July 26, Juan Rodriguez, a 39-year-old Iraq War veteran, was supposed to take his 1-year-old twins Luna and Pheonix to daycare on his way to work that morning. However, after putting in a full 8-hour day at the VA hospital where he worked, he realized his deadly mistake.
Around 4:00 p.m. Rodriguez returned to his car, looked in the rearview mirror, and realized that he had left his son and daughter in the backseat of his car, buckled into their car seats for the entire day.
Witnesses told CBS News that Rodriguez “went crazy” when he learned his children had passed. It was a passerby who called 911. The father said at the time, “I blanked out. My babies are dead. I killed my babies.”
Shortly after her twins’ passings, Rodriguez’s wife, Marissa, released a statement through her lawyer. She wrote that “this is my absolute worst nightmare,” and while the hurt she’s feeling is “unimaginable,” she still loves her husband.
She called him “a good person and great father and I know he would’ve never done anything to hurt our children intentionally. I will never get over this loss and I know he will never forgive himself for this mistake. This was a horrific accident, and I need him by my side to go through this together.”
Her husband was charged with two counts of manslaughter and two counts of criminally negligent homicide, all of which he pled not guilty to.
Now, Marissa is opening up even more as a guest on The Dr. Phil Show. In defense of her husband, Marissa said she doesn’t feel that it’s fair that her husband has been charged in the death of their children.
She continued saying she “can’t understand” how taking her husband away from her and their other children “would be considered justice at all.” Marissa added that she needs her husband with her as they continue to grieve the loss of their twins, adding that they “are both living in our own personal hell.”
The mom said through tears, “Bottom line, I am supportive and understanding, but I’m so angry. I just couldn’t understand how it happened.” But now that they are living this nightmare, Marissa is realizing that leaving children in hot cars accidentally is more common than she ever imagined.
As Kids and Cars reports, “the most dangerous mistake a parent or caregiver can make is to think leaving a child alone in a vehicle could never happen to them or their family.” In 2019 alone, 53 children died after being left in a hot car.
“We are the parents of five children so every day we’re tired. He worked very late the night before, that morning it was, ‘Thank God it’s Friday,’ you’re just looking forward to the weekend taking the babies to the beach for the first time. No expectation whatsoever in my mind that there was any difference … was he tired? Absolutely. That’s just how our everyday life seemed to be.”
Listen to Mom Marissa Explain That Morning in Her Own Words Below
Marissa then described the phone call she got from her husband that tragic day:
“I kind of just ignored it [at first] because I was working. I realized he left me a voicemail which he doesn’t normally do. He called again, so I said, ‘Okay, it’s important.’ I got off the phone [with my client] … He was screaming in the phone, I could tell through what he was saying and how he was saying it. I heard him say that they were gone. I didn’t believe it. I just kept saying, ‘You’re joking, you’re kidding.’”
Prosecutors say they are still investigating the infants’ deaths before deciding if the case should be brought to a grand jury. A GoFundMe account has been created to help the family with funeral and legal expenses.
Sara Vallone has been a writer and editor for the last four and a half years. A graduate of Ohio University, she enjoys celebrity news, sports, and articles that enhance people’s lives.