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Inquiry, cautions follow 2 deaths in Franklin

Children’s suffocation in hope chest deemed a ‘tragic accident’

The two Franklin children who suffocated Sunday in a sealed hope chest died of a “tragic accident,’’ preliminary autopsy results showed Tuesday, as a federal agency launched an investigation into the deaths.

During an apparent game of hide-and-seek, 7-year-old Sean Munroe and his 8-year-old sister Lexi climbed inside a wooden storage chest that automatically latched shut when closed and could not be opened from the inside. The chest, determined by investigators to have been made in 1939, was part of a 1996 recall of 12 million such chests made by Lane Furniture of Virginia after reports of at least six children suffocating inside.

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