US couple charged with murder after toddler left in a hot vehicle dies, police say

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An Arkansas couple has been charged with capital murder after one of their four young children left inside a hot vehicle died from apparent heat exhaustion, authorities said.

Prosecutors in Little Rock filed the murder charges Monday against Deja and Justin Rollins following their 2-year-old’s death. They have pleaded not guilty.

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Police initially responded to a child abuse report Sunday afternoon at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, where one of the couple’s children was receiving urgent medical treatment, officials said.

Meanwhile, hospital security learned that the couple had four other children, ages 2, 4, 7 and 10, inside a vehicle in the parking lot.

The children were brought inside for treatment, and the 2-year-old died the next day, police said.

Besides the murder charges, Deja and Justin Rollins each face charges of domestic battery, neglect, child endangerment, animal cruelty and obstruction, officials said.

Investigators found a malnourished dog at the Rollins’ residence in Jacksonville, just northeast of Little Rock. Online court records didn’t list an attorney for the couple.

The county public defender didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

The couple was being held without bond Tuesday.

Prosecutors haven’t said whether they’ll seek the death penalty.

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