Two children dead after being found in locked chest

FRANKLIN, Mass. (WHDH) – Two children under the age of 10 found unresponsive in a Franklin home on Chestnut Street Sunday night, were declared dead on Monday.

The brother and sister were found locked inside of a Hope Chest that could only be opened from the outside.

Police responded to the home at 8 p.m. on Sunday.

A relative was the one who discovered them and dialed 911. The children were rushed to separate but nearby hospitals.

Police say the chest was located next to a TV and the TV’s volume was turned up very high at the time.

“All the firemen and all those type of guys they were all over there. They pulled in on the road here, and went into the house running out here. Back and forth. I don't know how many hours,” said Harold Alger, neighbor.

The chest is the focus of the investigation. The family bought the chest 12 years ago and it's unclear if the lock was changed after the company issued a recall in 1997.

Lane Furniture–the company that makes the chests–has a standing recall to replace the locks since several children have suffocated after getting locked inside. It's estimated that there are still six million chests that need the lock replaced.

Officials are trying to determine how long the children were in the chest.

"They were outgoing kids. And I can't believe they are gone. It is just shocking," said family friend Dawn Powers. Her daughter used to play with Lexi and her seven-year-old brother Sean.

Grief counselors were present at the elementary school where the children were students on Monday. The Superintendent of Schools stated that they will remain in place for several days.