Mother Charged With Homicide As Her Babies Died Holding Each Other In House Fire

Hartsville Mobile Home Fire I can’t stand this story. This is one of those times I wish I had a wayback machine so I could go and take all these kids out of their home and make this tragedy go away and have never happened. Hope Kaneshia Hawkins, age 21, has been charged with homicide by child abuse after leaving her four children alone. A fire broke out in their trailer in Hartsville, South Carolina and all of the children died of smoke inhalation. The worst part of this story, as reported by the Daily Mail:

The fire is believed to be accidental and started in the kitchen. Rather than escape, it seemed the frightened children tried to protect themselves in the cupboard.


Firefighters discovered the bodies of the kids, ages four, two and twins ages 10 months  embracing each other and hiding in the kitchen cupboard. They died hugging each other.

The mom told the police that the fire stated and she tried to get her kids out of the house, but authorities claim that the mother showed up after the fire trucks had already arrived. The town held a candlelit vigil for the children on Friday night and their funeral service took place on Wednesday. The children’s young cousins were pallbearers.

I don’t get it.I don’t understand how a much could do this. I have no idea why a mother would be so negligent to leave her kids home alone like this, but my heart breaks for them. The mom is expected to serve at least 20 years in prison.


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  • chickadee

    Poor, poor babies. What a horrible thing for them to have to go through. Why would their mother leave them alone*? 10-month-old twins in the care of a 4-year-old? This story reminds me of the Jessica Tata case, where the home day care giver left 6 children alone while she went to Target and (I think) four children died in a fire….Tata arrived home as the fire trucks arrived, as in this case.

    I wish Hawkins had taken her babies with her, wherever she went that night*.

    *if in fact she did.

    • Tea

      I saw that too. My first thought was that it was the laziest template theft job I had ever seen.

      And honestly, as a dude, it looks dull anyway. I’ll stick to Primer Magazine and Art of Manliness.

      (I know I’m derailing, but this story is so sad and rage-inducing and mind boggling that I have nothing to add.)

    • chickadee

      Don’t you want to ‘Ask a Hot Chick’ questions? Look at pictures of Teen Mom Farrah? Ugh.

      And the lone comment on EveryJoe’s story made horrid comments about the mother along the lines of ‘what do you expect from someone who had 4 children by the age of 21?’ so at least our commenters are nicer….I just don’t think you can look at this story without looking at the bigger picture as well about this woman.

    • Tea

      I can ask lots of “hot chicks” questions, because I’m not afraid of them, and given where I hang out, most of them are lesbians. I’m also polite and don’t just stare and drool out one corner of my mouth and mumble.

      I adore Art of Manliness, it got me into straight razor shaving, wearing hats, and not dressing like a dudebro/thrift store bin.They have cool stuff on camping, picnicing and generally being awesome and bettering yourself, handling complex relationships, all while striving to be a gentleman and respecting women.

      Primer’s nice too, even if it’s very urban-centric and aimed at the “I just graduated and the only alcohol I know is Jager and Everclear, how do I clean up my act and stop being a man-child?”

      The other site looks like it’s the kind of men’s site I don’t care to frequent, with the kind of crowd I don’t like to associate with. I’m all about building my career, bettering myself, maybe having kids some day and building a cabin in the mountains. It feels like an even sketchier and lower brow side to “AskMen”, which was basically “The Wanna-be Rich Playa’s Guide to Hot Babes and Threesomes. GIGGITY.”

      And that comment is completely and utterly appalling. That’s the kind of knee-jerk judgement you think for half a second, before real feelings set in, not the kind of thing you just spew out online.

      (Sorry for the novel)

    • chickadee

      AskMen is so, so horrid. It gives men a bad name. EveryJoe also looks intellectually insulting, and doesn’t teach you to drive like a gentleman, either. And I think there’s a connection between this mentality and rude comments…if your site doesn’t encourage readers to see people as more complex that just a quick internet blurb, then of course they will make surface judgments and want to playas because chicks aren’t people, especially if they’re hot.

  • Sara

    Oh, my God. This is one of those stories that I didn’t want to click to read, because I knew that whatever I read was going to be horribly upsetting……and yep.

    Why, just WHY, would anyone leave four children under the age of four home alone? I’m trying to muster up some sympathy for this woman, but I can’t. All of my sorrow goes to the children who died, terrified and alone, because of her negligence. 20 years would be far too little, in my opinion.

    • chickadee

      I know. The only thing that really could make this more tragic was if the mother was working and had to leave her babies alone because she couldn’t find anyone to keep her babies for her.

    • faifai

      sad if it were true, but… this is why jesus invented birth control. if you can’t handle the responsibility of having children, then you shouldn’t have them. since this is america & not ireland, there are many options out there to keep you from having kids. :P

    • chickadee

      Given that sex ed in this country is so horrible, and given that Hawkins lives in a southern state that may very well teach abstinence-only AND given that she was about 16 when she got pregnant, I’m not sure she had access to all of the options that, say, mine have.

    • faifai

      Very, very good point.

    • Tea

      Given her location and likely economic level, Birth Control was probably not even an option or something she knew about. Chances are she was taught abstinence only, didn’t have a regular OBGYN, and probably didn’t have access to something like planned parenthood.

    • faifai

      Thinking about it further though–after the first two, woudn’t she go “hey, I can’t afford these here babies! there’s gotta be SOMETHING I can do to stop poppin’ these suckers out!”
      Wouldn’t she? I mean, excuses about lack of education only goes so far, right? After something happens, you gotta stop and think?
      Don’t… don’t people think about things?

    • Sara

      I gotta agree with you here. I mean, it’s true that abstinence-only sex ed is a complete travesty, but……..I mean, come on. At SOME point, don’t we all have a duty to exercise a little common sense and personal responsibility?

    • faifai

      I guess the kind of person who is able to exercise common sense & personal responsibility wouldn’t leave 4 kids at home alone under the watchful eye of a preschooler. :P

    • anya

      I was raised in a southern state with abstinence only education and of course I still knew to use birth control and condoms. even if birth control is expensive, condoms aren’t. especially in comparison to the cost of a baby

  • k_milt

    Oh, my sweet babies. I don’t even know what to say (what could be said?), except that my heart is broken. Their last minutes must have been terrifying. I just…I can’t.

  • Janika Moravskoslezský-Carter

    This is so sad. WOW.