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Two children found dead in stifling apartment; mom arrested

August 12, 1997

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) _ A mother was arrested for investigation of murder after the bodies of her two young daughters were found in a stifling apartment with the windows shut and air conditioner off, police said.

Debbie Ann Lowe, 29, was arrested Sunday after police found the bodies of 20-month-old Ebony Whitfield and 6-month-old Myisha Tolbert, officials said.

``They died in a closed-up apartment on the hottest day of the year while their mother was out looking for drugs,″ police Lt. Jerry Davis said Monday. Ms. Lowe, who was on parole for a drug conviction, was apparently gone from the apartment for four days, he said.

Police were called after Ms. Lowe tried to break the window of a van several miles from her home and told the owner she was looking for her baby. She told neighbors and police that her children had been kidnapped.

Davis said police didn’t know whether she had returned to the apartment, found the children dead and used the kidnapping story as an excuse.

Officers said Ms. Lowe’s two-bedroom apartment was shut tight Sunday with the air conditioning off. The older child was found under a bed, where she apparently sought a cooler place; the younger child was in her crib.

Police believe the children died Thursday, when the temperature hit 105 degrees. The temperature inside the apartment Sunday was 96 degrees.