HINESVILLE, Ga. (WSAV) – A Georgia foster mother has been charged with two counts of second-degree murder and two counts of child cruelty in connection to the deaths of three-year-old twins.
Claudette Foster was contracted through the State of Georgia to take care of Raelynn and Payton Keyes, who were found unresponsive last month in the back seat of a car.
Liberty County Magistrate Judge Angela Roberts denied her bond on Oct. 15. Roberts and police say Foster is a flight risk because she is not an American citizen and is facing serious charges.
Roberts said Foster may “leave the area for some reason or [her] visa may not be reinstated in March.”
Hinesville Police said murder charges were filed partially because Foster was negligent when she was taking care of the twins.
In September, police responded to Foster’s fiancee’s home where the girls were found unresponsive in the back seat of a car. Police say they were missing for hours.
“It was determined that there was a lack of supervision for the children,” said Detective Bryan Wolfe with Hinesville Police Department. “It allowed them to enter the vehicle and pass away.”
The girls’ biological mother — Skye Keyes — says Foster mistreated her daughters in the past. She says the twins were slapped in the face, punched and thumped in the head.
“There’s been several complaints,” said Keyes who is also the biological mother to two other boys. As of Friday, a family member says the boys are in her custody.
A few days before the crime, Keyes says she reported alleged bad behavior to the Georgia Department of Family and Children’s Services. News 3 asked DFACS about the report and was given the following response:
It is the Division’s practice not to comment on criminal investigations. The Division is working closely with law enforcement to investigate this tragedy and to prevent future similar tragedies.
We continue to keep all those whose lives have been touched by Payton and Raelynn Keyes in our thoughts and prayers.”– DFACS
Foster’s fiancee lived on the 200 block of Augusta Way in the Griffin Park subdivision in Hinesville.
Neighbors did not want to talk to News 3 on camera but many say they are still upset and sticking together on neighborhood Facebook pages.
Family members have created a GoFundMe account to cover funeral expenses for the girls.
According to KidsAndCars.org, over 900 children have died in hot cars nationwide since 1990. A total of 52 children have died in hot cars so far this year.
BY THE NUMBERS
Year — Total
- 2019 — 52
- 2018 — 54*
- 2017 — 43
- 2016 — 39
The average number of deaths per year: 38 (one every 9 days), according to KidsandCars.org.
*Year with the most fatalities: 2018 (54 deaths)