A Cary, N.C. mom charged with the murder of her two infant daughters spent most of the day of her children’s death at gambling parlor, local NBC affiliate WRAL-TV reports.
Launice Battle, 29, was arrested at the Duke Raleigh Hospital on Saturday, where two-year-old Trinity Milbourne and three-year-old Amora Milbourne were pronounced dead at around 9.40pm.
While police have revealed few details about the case, Battle’s relatives have been more forthcoming to WRAL News.
Speaking on the steps of the courtroom at an initial hearing Monday, Battle’s cousins told the station the girls’ deaths a “careless mistake.” They added that she was a “caring and loving mother to her kids … not a cold-blooded murderer.”
Her father told the station that “to his understanding” the children had been left in a hot car. He also said she “may” have been gambling at a casino.
Present at Sweepstakes Parlor
The “casino” in question is Vegas Style Sweepstakes and Entertainment in a sweepstakes parlor in nearby Raleigh.
An employee, who did not wish to be named, confirmed to WRAL-News that Battle was a regular at the establishment and had been gambling there from 1:30pm to 7:30pm on Saturday.
They added that she had been “in and out of the parlor the whole time she was there” and that staff at Vegas Style Sweepstakes were “in shock” at the news of the children’s deaths.
Battle’s neighbors told WRAL-News she was a single mom. Cary police said there were no records of child abuse or neglect linked to her address.
“We love Launice no matter what, and we will support her no matter what. This was a careless mistake,” said her cousin, Lisacious Williams.
Battle is next due in court on September 19.
All Too Common
Sadly, incidents of children being left in cars while their parents go to gamble is an all-too-common occurrence nationwide. In August 2021, Pennsylvania State Police said they had responded to at least 57 instances of at casino property parking lots in the state so far that year.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) recently reported 147 incidents involving 268 children at Wind Creek Bethlehem Casino alone from 2018 to 2021.
In May, the casino’s owner, Wind Creek Hospitality, which acquired the property in 2019 from LVS, presented a mitigation plan to the PGCB to address the problem. This involves more signage in and around the casino and increased training for staff, as well as increased patrolling of parking lots by security.
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