Mother charged, denied bond in fatal Hartsville fire

(Source: WPDE)

HARTSVILLE, S.C. (WPDE/WCIV) -- The coroner's office said the four children who died in Wednesday afternoon's mobile home fire all died of smoke inhalation. The mother was charged Thursday evening in their deaths.

According to Myrtle Beach ABC affiliate WPDE, Hope Hawkins was charged with four counts of homicide by child abuse and four counts of unlawful neglect of a child. Bond was denied Friday afternoon on the homicide charges and set at $20,000 for each count in the neglect charges, the station reported.

The names of the four children were released on Thursday.

The{}four children were identified as Myasia Hawkins and her twin sister, Kynasia Hawkins, ten-months-old, their brother, Delonta Dixon, 4, and another brother, Camaron Mason, 2, according to Coroner J. Todd Hardee, according to WPDE's report.

According to one arrest warrant obtained by WPDE, Hawkins "did place in reasonable risk of harm and did willfully abandoned/leave an unattended male child at her home on 811 Depot Street in Hartsville at which time a fire did occur. Hope had custody of the minor male child and is the child's parent."

Firefighters say they did all they could to save the children, but the flames were too intense.

The grandmother of the children said she cannot understand why the tragedy happened. She said her daughter is still in shock from Wednesday's fire.

"I can't explain it. My babies gone," said Leigh Hawkins. "My babies gone. I don't know why."

Their relatives are finding comfort in each other, but it's still difficult.

"Still seem like a dream, like you'll wake up tomorrow and the children running through the house," said Tamiko Wright, the victims' aunt.

Watkins said her daughter is trying to be strong, but is struggling.

"I know she going to need help because she already told me she couldn't take it," she said.

Family members believe Delonta was looking out for his brothers and sisters when the fire started.

"He probably tried to save them, not think about himself because he had loved his brothers and sisters," said Wright.

Neighbors have placed flowers, balloons and Teddy bears outside the remains of the home in memory of the children. A vigil has been planned for Friday.

When firefighters arrived, the mother was in the front yard, according to Darlington County Sheriff Wayne Byrd, but it's not clear if she was in the home when the fire started.

Hartsville Police, the Darlington County Sheriff's Office and the State Law Enforcement Division are investigating the fire. The cause of the fire still has not been determined.

The American Red Cross is helping the family.