Mother of four children killed in house fire charged

Hope Hawkins in court Friday

Judge Beatrice Curtis denied bond for Hope Hawkins, 21, on each of the four counts of Homicide by Child Abuse. She set bond for $20,000 each for the four counts of Unlawful Neglect of a Child.

Hawkins is being held at the Darlington County Detention Center for the deaths of her four children who died in a house fire Wednesday.

According to one arrest warrant obtained by WPDE NewsChannel 15, Hawkins "did place in reasonable risk of harm and did willfully abandon/leave an unattended male child at her home on 811 Depot Street in Hartsville at which time a fire did occur. Hope had custody of the minor male child and is the child's parent."

Deputies aren't sure where Hawkins was at time of fire. At a press conference Friday, officials said she gave officers conflicting stories about where she was. They say she wasn't at the home when firefighters got there, but arrived later. Hawkins told the judge Friday she was home, but the flames kept her from saving her children.

The four children who died Wednesday have been identified as Myasia Hawkins and her twin sister, Kynasia Hawkins, ten-months-old, their brother, Delonta Dixon, 4, and another brother, Camaron Mason, 2, according to Coroner J. Todd Hardee.

Autopsy results show all the children died from smoke inhalation.

When firefighters arrived at the single-wide mobile home on Depot Street just before 2 p.m., it was already 75 percent involved.

When they got the fire out, they found the bodies of the children.

Relatives say the girls' bodies were found behind a dresser, and the bodies of the boys were found under a bed. They were all in the same room.

Firefighters say the fire appears to be accidental and it started in the kitchen.

Firefighters say they did all they could to save the children, but the flames were too intense. The coroner says their bodies were burned beyond recognition.

Depot Street was closed for seven and a half hours Wednesday afternoon as investigators worked at the scene.

Hartsville Police, the Darlington County Sheriff's Office and the State Law Enforcement Division are investigating the fire.

The City of Hartsville is planning a candle light vigil in memory of the children at Centennial Park at the intersection of 5th Street and Carolina Avenue at 8:30 p.m. Friday, according to Mayor Mel Pennington.

Pennington was also one of the firefighters who responded to the fire.

Funeral services for the children are set for 3 p.m. Wednesday, May 1, at Emmanuel Baptist Church.

Burial will follow at New Hopewell Baptist Church Cemetery, directed by Young &young Funeral Home of Hartsville.