A CRUEL mom whose two children were found dead strapped in their car seats has this week pleaded guilty to their murders.
Brittany Velasquez, 22, was arrested after her son Christopher, 2, and 10-month-old daughter Brooklyn died when they were left unattended in March 2018.
Both children succumbed to exposure outside their home in Superior, Arizona, a coroner ruled.
Velasquez, who'd been widowed just nine months before her children's deaths, this week accepted a plea deal with prosecutors ahead of her mid-December murder trial.
The negligent mother has admitted second-degree murder and child abuse charges, AZfamily.com reports.
Velasquez is due to be sentenced on February 10, 2020 – when she is expected to be handed a 20-year jail sentence.
'NO EARLY RELEASE'
Pinal Deputy County Attorney Shawn Jensvold told People: "She agreed to a stipulated term of 20 years flat followed by lifetime probation.
"She won’t be eligible for early release."
The deaths came just nine months after their father died.
The harrowing case raises questions about state childcare authorities – who had twice investigated Velasquez on suspicion of child neglect.
Arizona Department of Child Safety (DCS) officials first responded to allegations against her in October 2016.
The authority received a report that Velasquez would leave her baby son with her mother for long periods of time, ABC15 reported.
STRING OF INVESTIGATIONS
And a second DCS investigation was launched on January 5, 2018, just months before the tragic deaths.
That probe came after a second report alleging that Velasquez would repeatedly force her mother to care for the children for lengthy spells.
She was also subject to a police investigation after a relative claimed Velasquez had stolen a fur coat just days earlier on January 1, USA Today reported.
During that investigation, a relative told cops that Velasquez would disappear for days at a time – leaving her children in her family's care.
Despite the multiple reports, authorities took no action against the mother – and instead enrolled her in a home visitation program.
They also signed the children up for daycare at no extra cost after finding no evidence of abuse or neglect, a DCS spokesperson said.
But concerned family members worried about Velasquez's fitness for motherhood.
Her brother Vincent told Fox10 after her arrest: "We begged [Child Protection Services] 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.”
In their statement, DCS said: “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.”
Velasquez's husband Christopher Sr died in June 2017 when the couple's daughter was just two weeks old.
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