North Carolina Mom Faces Murder Charges for Leaving Children in Hot Car While She Gambled

Posted on: September 1, 2022, 05:37h. 

Last updated on: September 1, 2022, 02:52h.

A Cary, N.C. woman has been charged with the murder of her two infant daughters after leaving them unattended in a hot car over the weekend, local NBC affiliate WRAL-TV reports. She spent most of that day gambling at Vegas Style Sweepstakes and Entertainment, a sweepstakes parlor in nearby Raleigh.

Launice Battle
Launice Battle makes her first court appearance on murder charges Monday. Her family said she left her two daughters in a hot car and she had been gambling that day. (Image: Kristen Johnson/Raleigh News & Observer)

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 9:40 p.m.

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 on Monday, Battle’s cousins told the station that the girls’ deaths were a “careless mistake.” They said Battle was a “caring and loving mother to her kids … not a cold-blooded murderer.”

Battle’s 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

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 1:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.

The employee said Battle 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.

Battle is next due in court on Sept. 19.

All Too Common

Sadly, incidents of children being left in cars while their parents go to gamble are an all-too-common occurrence nationwide. In August 2021, Pennsylvania State Police said they had responded to at least 57 instances 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 involved more signage in and around the casino and increased staff training, as well as increased patrolling of parking lots by security.