Frantic 911 call as babies die: ‘My twins are purple. They’re not breathing’
LINDENWOLD — A South Jersey mother frantically called 911 on Wednesday morning, telling a dispatcher her twin infant girls had stopped breathing.
The Camden County Prosecutor's Office has said two 7-month old twins were found unresponsive at the 5100 building of the Pine Apartment complex in Lindenwold around 8 a.m.
In a 911 recording provided by the Camden County Prosecutor's Office, a woman is heard sobbing as she cries "my babies, my babies" to the dispatcher, who tries to get an address and assess the situation. In the recording, only the exact address of the home has been redacted.
"My twins are like purple, they’re not breathing,” the woman sobs. She tells the dispatcher both babies were found in their cribs.
The dispatcher speaks in a calm but firm voice, asking the woman if she knows how to perform CPR.
"I tried for 15 minutes," she tells the dispatcher as he calms her down enough to try again. She performs compressions on one girl, and then the other through her tears.
The mother continues to sob uncontrollably as a male voice is heard, and the dispatcher tells her to let the officers into her first-floor apartment. Officers apparently arrived about 4 minutes and 20 seconds after the call was started.
The mother continues to sob through cries of "oh my God " and "my babies" as the recording ends.
The prosecutor's office has not disclosed the identity of the mother or yet made any statement about how the infants died.
Alice Shields, a next-door neighbor, said she used to visit the mother to chat and see the babies.
“I’d see her go back and forth with the twins all the time,” she said.
Shields described the mother as a "lovely person," and said she couldn't believe what happened.
“Shock, yeah, just shock. I just had a panic attack," Shields said. "I’m still not able to breathe and I’m shaking like crazy."
Her daughter, Ann, said every night when she’d take the family dog, Cricket, for a walk, “I could hear the babies. They’re crying or giggling or whatever, and they’re beautiful.”
Alice Shields said the mother of the twins always seemed “very happy." Ann Shields said she still can’t believe the twins are gone.
“The kids were beautiful. They were absolutely beautiful, and the mother is a sweet, well-spoken, very kind person, so it’s very hard for me to deal with this," Ann Shields said. "When I got the news, I started to cry. I just gasped and started to cry.”
She described the apartment complex “very nice and quiet, but some people don’t know each other. A lot of the neighbors I was close to have moved out. There’s a lot of turnover.”
Ann Shields said she misses the twins already.
“They were just sweet, sweet kids. They cried a lot — as soon as you pick them up they’d cry, but they were just very cute, adorable children," she said.
Alice Shields added the mother and the children's grandmother "must be beyond grief right now."
"Something like this happens, you want to go do something, try to help, talk to them or something, see if you can do anything — but I don’t think that’s a good idea, the way things are right now," she said.
David Matthau contributed to this report
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com
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