SUPERIOR, Ariz. (KSAZ/AP) - Authorities say a mother has been arrested after her two young children were found dead in car seats inside a vehicle in a rural Arizona community.
Pinal County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Navideh Forghani says 20-year-old Brittany Velasquez was arrested, after her 2-year-old son, Christopher, and 10-month-old daughter, Brooklyn, were found strapped to their car seats in the vehicle at a home in the town of Superior.
In a news conference Tuesday afternoon, Sheriff Mark Lamb said Velasquez has been booked into jail on two counts of first degree murder. The vehicle involved, according to Sheriff Lamb, has been impounded.
Forghani says Velasquez was arrested after evidence at the scene suggested foul play.
PCSO says they will not release the name of the children.
Superior is town of about 2,900 people 60 miles (97 kilometers) east of Phoenix.
Brother describes suspect
Velasquez's brother, Vincent, described his sister as "deranged" - a person who has suffered with mental illness from a young age, and someone who refused to admit she was sick, and refused any help.
"You know they just -- they never had a chance," said Vincent.
Family members say Velasquez often left her children alone for hours or days at a time. Vincent said more than a dozen calls were made to Superior Police and CPS over the past couple of years, but Velasquez was able to fool investigators.
"We tried," said Vincent. "We begged CPS to take the kids. We begged the cops. Nothing would happen. Only thing we can do. We can't kidnap the kids. My grandparents let them stay in the house. Other than that, that's all we can do, know they are in a home, being fed."
The couple who cared for the kids was in their 80s, and the last time they saw the two alive, they assumed the mother was going to drop them off to a babysitter.
Now, they are preparing to bury their great-grandchildren.
"They were innocent. They didn't have a chance to live. They never to got to love anybody," said Vincent. "One thing I am happy about: my grandparents, they took care of them. If it wasn't for my grandparents, those kids would've never seen true love."
Meanwhile, DCS officials said they investigated two reports of neglect by Velasquez. In a statement, they said:
"In both reports, there was no evidence that the mother was abusing or neglecting her children. While there were concerns raised regarding Ms. Velasquez's previous mental health, no evidence was presented by anyone that indicated mental health issues were impeding Ms. Velasquez's ability to parent. However, we can only make decisions based on the available evidence and what the law allows."
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GoFundMe for Brooklyn and Christopher's funeral costs
The Associated Press contributed to this report.