A Hartsville mother was charged Thursday night in connection with the deaths of her 4 young children in a house fire on Wednesday afternoon, authorities said.
| Photo Gallery: 4 young children killed in Hartsville fire
Hope Hawkins is the mother of 2 boys and 2 girls – ages 1 to 4 – who perished when their Depot Street mobile home caught fire just before 2 pm Wednesday.
Officials at the Darlington County Sheriff's Office said the mother, Hawkins, was taken into custody just after 9 pm Thursday and booked at the Darlington County Detention Center.
Friday, she was charged with 4 counts of homicide by child abuse, and 4 counts of unlawful neglect of a child.
At a bond hearing Thursday afternoon, the judge denied bond for homicide charges, and as of now she will not be able to attend her children' funerals. The judge decided on $20,000 per count of unlawful neglect.
Deputies said at the 11 a.m. press conference the fire started in the kitchen and appeared to be accidental.
RELATED: Read the arrest warrants for Hawkins (pdf file)
Hawkins was not at home at the time of the fire and told authorities conflicting stories about what happened, deputies said.
Hawkins' arrest comes a little more than a day after her children were found dead hugging each other – at least two of them were found huddled in a closet of the home.
When fire crews arrived at the fiery single-wide home, which is reported to be the grandmother's, they found Hawkins in the front yard of the burning residence. It's unclear how many people lived in the house.
The children, who died from smoke inhalation, were twin 10-month-old daughters, and boys ages 2 and 4.
Inside the home were Myasia Hawkins and her twin sister, Kynasia Hawkins, their brother, Delonta Dixon 4, and Camaron Mason 2-years-old.
The grandmother arrived at the burned shell of the home on Thursday and was overcome with grief. Two women had to hold her up as she cried in front of the police tape that circled the house.
Meanwhile Thursday, vigil details were announced for Friday at 8:30 pm at Centennial Park in downtown Hartsville, Mayor Mel Pennington said.
The funeral is scheduled for next Wednesday, May 1 at 3 p.m. at Emmanuel Baptist Church.
3221 South Evans Street
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