By all accounts, he was a doting dad to his year-old, twin son and daughter, establishing a bouncy fort for his or her first celebration, and on mornings dressing them of their newest cute outfits whereas his spouse made breakfast of their Rockland County cut up degree.
Then, on Saturday, Juan Rodriguez, 39, was hauled handcuffed earlier than a choose, charged with the infants’ hot-car deaths.
The day earlier than, he’d forgotten to drop them off at their day care — and didn’t understand they had been nonetheless within the again seat when he parked at his Bronx hospital job, he advised officers, courtroom papers reveal.
The lifeless our bodies of his twins, Luna and Phoenix, registered an inner temperature of 108 levels when their our bodies had been examined of their automobile seats, coroners discovered.
“I assumed I dropped them off at day care earlier than I went to work,” he advised cops on the scene, in response to the prison grievance towards him.
“I blanked out!” he cried.
“My infants are lifeless! I killed my infants!”
Rodriguez was sobbing nonetheless Saturday evening, all through his arraignment earlier than Bronx Legal Courtroom Justice Patsy Goldbourne.
A licensed social employee and navy veteran, he was nonetheless carrying the identical turquoise blue polo shirt he’d worn Friday, as he cared for homeless and disabled vets at his job at a VA hospital in Kingsbridge.
“He carried on together with his day,” Assistant District Legal professional Jaime Breslin advised the choose.
“He forgot his youngsters within the seats.”
The choose set bail at $100,000, which members of the family mentioned they had been ready to submit later Saturday.
“It is a tragedy of horrific proportions,” his lawyer, Joey Jackson, advised the choose.
Rodriguez’s spouse, Marissa — the twins’ mom — got here to courtroom with the couple’s surviving baby, a four-year-old boy.
The dad had dropped the older boy off at a special day care that day, officers mentioned.
The mother held him on her lap as she waited in a second-floor holding space for the arraignment to start.
Together with her had been some two-dozen members of the family and buddies.
At one level, the mother broke into loud, hysterical sobs as she embraced a female relative.
At one other level, an older, dark-haired girl with the group cried out, “Mis Nietos! Mis Nietos!” — my grandchildren, my grandchildren — as she hugged a male relative.
“Please, please, we’re hurting proper now,” that male family member advised The Put up, declining to remark.
It was a horrific, double dying — a child brother and sister, facet by facet and helpless because the temperature within the parked car spiked.
It was additionally a tragedy made inexplicable by Rodriguez’s repute as a caring father.
How may a dad whose social media is full of photographs of him snuggling with Luna and Phoenix — and whose neighbors universally describe as loving and attentive — have forgotten his twin treasures, all day, within the again seat of his automobile?
“This was only a horrible mistake,” neighbor Tony Caterino, 45, mentioned of Rodriguez.
“That one time you make a mistake and you need to dwell with it for the remainder of your life.”
On Friday morning, Rodriguez drove to work, as ordinary, from his house in New Metropolis, NY, a center class and closely wooded suburb an hour’s drive north of the town.
Rodriguez is a social employee on the James J. Peters Division of Veterans Affairs Medical Heart.
Video reveals it was 8:22 a.m. when he parked his Honda Accord within the hospital parking zone at 130 West Kingsbridge Street, police sources mentioned.
The video subsequent reveals him returning at a minute earlier than four p.m.
Rodriguez began the automobile, and drove north towards house — solely to tug over lower than 10 minutes later, whereas nonetheless in The Bronx, on Kingsbridge Terrace.
“I left them within the automobile!” he started screaming.
Witnesses referred to as 911; arriving medics couldn’t revive the infants they usually had been pronounced lifeless on the scene.
Household pal Temple Barros, 41, who lives with the Rodriguez’s, advised The Put up Rodriguez routinely took the twins to a day care within the mornings.
The twins would keep at day care all through the day, Barros mentioned, as Rodriguez labored his hospital job and Marissa labored as a tourism and journey gross sales supervisor on the Empire Metropolis On line casino in Yonkers.
And whereas Barros didn’t see Rodriguez and the twins go away the home Friday, it could have been the dad, not the mom, who put them within the automobile, he mentioned.
“A tremendous man,” Barros, advised The Put up of Rodriguez.
“He’s at all times been there for his youngsters. All the time. That is only a horrible state of affairs,” he mentioned.
“The household isn’t doing so effectively,” he added.
Rodriguez was “at all times doing issues with the children,” Caterino, the neighbor, mentioned.
“All the time within the yard taking part in. That they had a giant camp-out final weekend, with tents within the yard.
“He would at all times play catch or basketball together with his older youngsters,” Caterino mentioned of Rodriguez’s two sons from a previous marriage.
“I simply can’t wrap my head round it,” mentioned one other neighbor, Paul Barlett, 39.
“Nobody right here can consider it.”
Further reporting by Stephanie Pagones, Kenneth Garger, Larry Celonaand Laura Italiano