The foster parent charged in the Sept. 29 deaths of toddler twins Raelynn and Payton Keyes was arrested for DUI a month prior to the children’s death.
According to court records, Claudette Foster was arrested for DUI on Aug. 4, 2019. She was cited for the DUI drugs and for failure to maintain lane and taken to Liberty jail. She later bonded out for $1,800.
A Georgia State Patrol incident report said Liberty County Sheriff Deputy Capt. Lonnie Bowman initiated a traffic stop on Foster around 12:30 a.m. after she failed to maintain her lane. Bowman said Foster stopped her Nissan in the middle of Highway 38.
GSP Trooper K. McCray was called to the scene to help Bowman and in his report said Foster was unsteady on her feet and had slurred speech. McCray also wrote there was an odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from Foster.
But Foster said she had only one drink, a stout, approximately three and a half hours earlier. When questioned further, Foster said she had drank some Benadryl earlier that night, admitting it may have been more than the typical dose. Foster also told the trooper she was sleepy, she said.
After a field sobriety test Foster was taken to Liberty Regional Medical Center for a blood toxicology test which was sent to the GBI lab in Savannah for analysis. She was then taken to jail. Foster’s boyfriend Sam Edwards was allowed to drive Foster’s vehicle home.
The results from the blood toxicology test is pending.
According to public records she waived formal arraignment and pleaded not guilty through her attorney on file, Kimberly Copeland.
Copeland requested trial by jury for Oct. 7.
However on Sept. 29, between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. the twins died after crawling into a disabled vehicle parked at Edwards’ house at 202 Augusta Way.
According to the arrest warrants, Foster is alleged to have caused cruel and excessive mental and physical pain to the twins when she left the children unattended for approximately three hours while she took a nap.
Documents state the children entered the disabled vehicle which led to their death by heat stroke.
Foster is charged with two counts of second degree murder and two counts of cruelty to children. Because Foster is a native of Jamaica she is considered a flight risk and was denied bond.
According to Hinesville police detective Bryan Wolfe, the autopsy confirmed the twins died of heat stroke. However Wolfe said Foster is charged because it was her alleged neglect that led to the circumstances of their death.
“In this case, during the investigation it was determined that there was a lack of supervision for the children which allowed them to enter into the vehicle and then eventually pass due to heat stroke,” Wolfe said.
Other news outlets reported that the Department of Family and Children Services had told Foster not to leave the children with Edwards and to not spend the night at Edwards’ house.
The twins and their brothers were removed from the home of the biological parents and had been in foster cares since May 2018.