EAST ORANGE, N.J.(AP) – Two young brothers died after being left inside a sport-utility vehicle in midday heat, and their father was charged with aggravated manslaughter and child endangerment.

Postal worker Derrick Strothers, 38, was released on $100,000 bail, and Essex County authorities continue to investigate the deaths of his only children, Derrick Jr., 2, and Dylan, 1.

While Strothers worked, the boys were left strapped in their car seats in Strothers’ SUV with the windows closed for about 2½ hours Friday afternoon, when temperatures reached the high 80s. Medical examiners didn’t expect to have an official cause of death until at least Tuesday, but authorities said the boys apparently died from exposure in the hot vehicle.

Assistant prosecutor Carolyn Wright said the children’s bodies had no sign of previous trauma and the family had no history of problems with the state Division of Youth and Family Services.

Authorities said Strothers had dropped off his wife at her job, then headed to the East Orange post office.

He drove the SUV to a medical building and summoned help. Emergency workers found the boys dead.

AP-ES-08-17-03 1512EDT



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