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3 Florida children dead after being trapped in chest freezer

Investigators say lid closed on children, trapping them inside

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LIVE OAK, Fla. – Three children are dead after they were found unresponsive in an unplugged chest freezer in Florida, deputies said.

The discovery was made Sunday night at a home in Suwannee County, a rural community in north Florida.

According to the Suwannee County Sheriff's Office, deputies arrived to find family members performing CPR on the children, ages 1, 4 and 6. They were rushed to an area hospital but were pronounced dead.

After conducting interviews with all of the adults in the home, investigators determined that the children, who had been playing outside in the yard, at some point climbed inside the chest freezer, which was unplugged and outside the home.

Investigators said an after-market hasp had been installed on the lid so that a padlock could be placed on it.

"It is believed at this time that when the children entered the freezer and the lid closed, the hasp fell shut, trapping the children inside," the Suwannee County Sheriff's Office said in a Facebook post. "There was no padlock on the freezer."

When a woman at the home returned outside after using the bathroom and couldn't find the children, she woke up another woman who was asleep in the home. They searched the property, eventually opening the freezer and finding the children not breathing inside.

The Florida Department of Children and Families was notified.

Detectives said the investigation is still ongoing, but foul play is not suspected.