FRANKLIN, Mass. (MyFoxBoston.com) – The company that manufactured the hope chest that two Franklin children were trapped in has confirmed that they recalled chests manufactured from 1912 until 1986 because children could get trapped inside.
The chest that Lexi and Sean Munroe were stuck in, and eventually died in, was made in 1939.
"Through investigation we have confirmed that this hope chest was manufactured by the Lane Furniture Company of Altavista, Virginia, on July 13, 1939," District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey said. "As has been publicized through that company, the Consumer Product Safety Commission and more recently in the media, that company recalled hope chests manufactured from 1912 until 1986 specifically because young children could become trapped inside and asphyxiated."
Other companies make similar chests, so people are urged to check their hope chests or similar types of furniture.
"We would urge anyone who has any kind of chest, hope chest or piece of this type to examine it with new eyes," Morrissey said. "If you close the lid and have to press or manipulate something on its exterior to get it to open, we urge you to contact the manufacturer for guidance or consider disabling the mechanism yourself. Some can be defeated by simply removing the portion of the latch attached to the lid of the chest."
The Munroe family bought the chest secondhand a decade ago. The chest was located in one of the bedrooms in the family home.
A relative told FOX 25 on Monday the father was home while the incident occurred. Morrissey would only say others family members were present and at some point, an adult may have been preparing dinner while the kids were playing.
The autopsies of the siblings who passed away on Jan. 12 are still not complete; however, preliminary information confirms that the event was a tragic accident, according to the Norfolk District Attorney's Office.
Funeral arrangements for the children were announced Wednesday. Calling hours are scheduled from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Ginley Funeral Home in Franklin. A funeral service will be held Monday at 10 a.m. in St. Mary's Church. They will be buried in Union Street Cemetery.
Family asked that in lieu of flowers, mourners contribute to a fund set up for the young children. Donations can be made to the Lexi & Sean Munroe Memorial Fund at Dean Bank, 21 Main St., P.O. box 307, Franklin, Mass. 02038. Donations can also be made by visiting any of the Dean Bank branches in Franklin, Bellingham, Blackstone or Mendon.