UPDATE: Mother Charged In Fire Death Of 2 Toddlers

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Authorities in North Carolina say two toddlers left without adult supervision have died in a house fire, and their mother has been charged with murder.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department spokesman Bob Fey said in a news release that 26-year-old Orgal Opata was arrested Sunday afternoon. She also was charged with four counts of exposing a child to a fire.

In all, investigators say four children, ages 7, 4, 2 and 1, were in the house when the fire started early Sunday morning.

A neighbor was credited with getting the two older children out, but 2-year-old Josiah Hawthorne and 1-year-old Gabriel Hawthorne died. Investigators say the fire appears to be accidental.

Fey said he didn't know if Opata has an attorney.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Officials say two toddlers left at a North Carolina home with young siblings have died in a house fire.

The Charlotte Observer reports that 2-year-old Josiah Hawthorne and 1-year-old Gabriel Hawthorne died in the fire early Sunday morning.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police told the paper the two were home with a 4-year-old brother and a 7-year-old sister when the fire started before 6 a.m. Police say a neighbor rescued the two older children.

Investigators were still looking for the children's mother and were interviewing the survivors to determine who left them unsupervised.

Fire investigators say the blaze appears to be accidental.

Neighbor Juanita Edwards told the newspaper the family had lived in the house about a year.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Jeff Location: Winterville on Mar 1, 2010 at 05:55 PM
    The children were just a tax write off for her. The surviving children should be removed from the home and place in loving foster care.
  • by AshleyNevada Location: Kinston on Mar 1, 2010 at 10:36 AM
    Larceny and possesion of Schedule II crimes she has already been convicted of...I'm all for innocent until proven otherwise but she was already unfit. I hope the two children that survived will be able to stay together when they take them away from this obviously irresponsible woman.
  • by Darren Location: Kill Devil Hills on Mar 1, 2010 at 09:57 AM
    Not much of a mother right there! Someone else should have those older kids. May God be with the older children and the other family members!
  • by Michelle Location: Wilson on Mar 1, 2010 at 06:31 AM
    According to another website, she is was charged in October of "contributing to the delinquency of a minor" and she has already been in prison for larceny. She has done a lot in her short 26 years. Had Four children, killed two of them, and has been in prison for 6 months. Whats next??
  • by Anon on Mar 1, 2010 at 02:43 AM
    I'm sure she was working one of her 2 jobs. Or, maybe she was out clubbing, spending some of her government assistance money. Or maybe she was at church? I'm sure one of these answers is correct.
  • by BIG AL Location: Greene Co on Feb 28, 2010 at 05:47 PM
    This is a stupid Moron. I hope she cries and grieves her self to death. It would not be good enough for that woman. If you don't want to take care of your kids give to someone who cannot have children. Adopt them out . Give them to your family members. If you cannot take care of children get your tubes tied,snipped and burnt! These babies did not deserve this . I hope they fry her!
  • by JB Location: NC on Feb 28, 2010 at 04:35 PM
    The mother should be charged when found, or the babysitter if there were one. No child should be left alone at home like these four children. I know this is very devastating and painful for the 4 and 7 year old.
  • by Cactus Location: Strabane on Feb 28, 2010 at 03:56 PM
    Leaving a child unattended should be a hanging offence.
  • by Amber Location: Washington on Feb 28, 2010 at 02:51 PM
    This is just so heartbreaking!!!! Where were the adults???? Why were these children alone???? What a horrible tragedy!!!
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