Police are investigating the deaths of 2- and 3-year-old siblings in the Bronx, though they say both children had histories of asthma and there were no obvious signs of trauma to their bodies.
Police say the kids' 31-year-old mother and her boyfriend had put the siblings to bed in the same room of their Van Cortlandt Park South home around 8:30 p.m. Sunday. The boyfriend woke up around 1 a.m. Monday and went to check on the kids, noticed they had breathing difficulty and called 911, according to police.
When officers arrived, they found 2-year-old Olivia Gee and her 3-year-old brother Micha Gee unconscious at the scene. Both children were taken to Montefiore Medical Center, where they were pronounced dead.
A law enforcement source familiar with the investigation says the kids' mother was so distraught she had to be hospitalized, and police have not yet been able to question her. The boyfriend has been cooperative, the source said.
The medical examiner will conduct autopsies to determine how the siblings died; it's not clear if investigators believed their asthma histories contributed to their deaths. There were marks on the children's chest, but those could be from first responders performing CPR, according to the law enforcement source.
The siblings lived in an apartment at Amalgamated Houses, a tight-knit co-op community, according to people who live there. The building manager told NBC 4 New York the children's grandmother works as director of education for the co-op, and has lived there 25 years.
"She is beyond devastated," said Charles Zsebedics. "She has a lot of support from my staff who are with her. We are all shaken. I'm shaken."
He described the kids as "angelic and happy," and said relatives are asking for privacy as they grieve.
"They are just gorgeous, lovely, beautiful children," said Zsebedics. "Anyone that sees them knows they are well taken care of."