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Woman Denies Guilt in Boys' Car-Heat Deaths

July 31, 2003|From Times Staff Reports

A woman whose two foster sons died after she left them in a hot car pleaded not guilty to two counts of child abuse Wednesday, Los Angeles County district attorney's spokeswoman Jane Robison said.

Leslie Sue Smoot, 48, faces more than 15 years in prison if found guilty of the charges stemming from the July 8 incident in which the 3- and 5-year-old brothers died of heat exposure after being left for five hours in a Cadillac Escalade owned by Smoot.

Smoot, who operates child-care centers in Lancaster, told Los Angeles County sheriff's investigators that she forgot about the children, and that she thought someone else would take them out of the car, authorities said.

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