At approximately 8 pm on Sunday, December 12th, two children under the age of ten went missing in their home in Franklin, Massachusetts. Family members searched and found the two children in a hope chest. The hope chest in this incident was "an older type" made by Lane Furniture and was purchased by the family secondhand more than a decade ago. The two children, 1st and 3rd graders, were trapped to the point of suffocation, and died shortly after being found and brought to the hospital. A recall has been issued for hope chests manufactured by Lane Company between 1912 and 1987. After 1987, a release was added to the lock that allowed it to be open from the inside. Prior recalls of the product had been made in 1996 and 2000. Over 12 million Lane Furniture cedar chests with automatically latching lids were recalled. The recall was prompted by at least six suffocation deaths and two near fatalities.
At this time police are ruling it an accident, although an autopsy is expected to be conducted. According to the District Attorney's office, various family members were home at the time of the incident, as well as at least one unidentified adult.
Lane Furniture, in addition to the recall, offers free replacement locks on any of their hope chests built prior to 1987.