Deaths of 5-Year-Old Twins in Bronx Apartment Remain a Mystery

Two days after 5-year-old twins were discovered by their mother lifeless and foaming at the mouth in their Bronx apartment, the authorities still do not know how they died.

The boy and girl were found dead Monday morning in a bed they shared with their mother in the family’s sixth-floor apartment in the Mount Hope neighborhood, police officials said.

The police said there were no visible signs of trauma to their bodies, and officers who came to the apartment found no weapons or narcotics that would suggest foul play.

Julie Bolcer, a spokeswoman at the New York City’s medical examiner office, said the children’s bodies were examined on Tuesday, but the cause and manner of their deaths require further study.

The twins, who both have special needs, had been ill in recent weeks, according to Joseph Kenny, the chief of detectives at the New York Police Department. The boy was vomiting at school on Nov. 30 and sent home. Then, on Dec. 12, he had a runny nose and other cold-like symptoms and was sent home again.

The mother, who has not been named by the police, also told officers that her daughter had recently had an ear infection, had vomited, and had been biting and spitting at school, Chief Kenny said.

The mother did not take her children to see a doctor, Chief Kenny added.

To friends and neighbors, there were no signs that anything was amiss at the family home. They told the police that the mother was doting: The twins were well dressed and well nourished, attended school, had toys and played in the building.

No child abuse or domestic violence cases had been reported, Assistant Chief Benjamin Gurley, the commanding officer of the Bronx patrol borough, said at a news conference on Monday.

The last time the mother said she saw the children alive was around 5 a.m. Monday in their apartment on East 175th Street near Monroe Avenue, Chief Kenny said. She woke around 11:20 a.m. and found them stiff and cold.

The mother said she immediately called 911 and began performing CPR. Emergency workers continued life-saving measures at the apartment, but the children were pronounced dead at 11:30 a.m.

Soon after, the mother was taken to an area hospital for evaluation. “She’s emotionally distraught,” Chief Gurley told reporters on Monday. The father, a health aide who had been at work overnight and was not at home, spoke with officers at the 46th Precinct.

Candi McDonald, 38, who lives next door to the family, said the mother’s screams had woke her. Startled, she walked out of her apartment to find neighbors gathered in the hallway. They were consoling the mother, who sat sobbing on the steps.

Ms. McDonald asked what had happened. A moment later, she understood: She saw officers in the woman’s apartment, and the boy lifeless on the floor. “It’s just sad,” she said. “I feel terrible.”

On Monday afternoon, neighbors spoke kindly of the mother and wondered what had gone wrong.

Maira Bonet, 50, who lives on the block, said the mother once gave Ms. Bonet’s daughter a tablet for her birthday. Ms. Bonet thanked her by giving the twins clothes, remote-control cars and baby dolls.

When Ms. Bonet heard Monday that the children were dead, she screamed.

Dakota Santiago contributed reporting.

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