UPDATE: Medical Examiner's Office Rules Mother and Daughters' Deaths Heat Related

UPDATE: Medical Examiner's Office Rules Mother and Daughters' Deaths Heat Related

The mother and two young children who were found dead inside their car at Western Heights Middle School in Hagerstown this summer died from hyperthermia and environmental heat exposure.
HAGERSTOWN, Md. - The mother and two young children who were found dead inside a car at Western Heights Middle School in Hagerstown this summer died from hyperthermia and environmental heat exposure, according to Spokesman Bruce Goldfarb with the Medical Examiner's Office in Baltimore. 

As we've reported, Allison Pluck, 32, and her 18-month old, Shania Gill, and 6-month-old, Shameka Gill, were found dead inside their car at the school parking lot around 4:30 p.m. on June 16, 2014. WHAG's meteorologists recorded outdoor temperatures reached almost 90 degrees that day. 

Officials with the Medical Examiner's Office concluded that the manner of death was accidental and the cause of death was determined to be from hyperthermia from the excessive heat build-up in the car, stated in a release. The toxicology report was negative on Pluck and the additional testing that was done yielded no findings for any medical issues whatsoever, and there was no medical reason to explain what happened, officials say. 

The toxicology report on the children was also negative. Police state these findings were based on the medical examination, along with the extensive investigation performed by detectives. 

"The Medical Examiner's Office bases their findings on cases like this not just on the medical examination of a body but on the totality on the investigation from law enforcement. So they took into account everything we found, what we didn't find," said Captain Paul Kifer with the Hagerstown Police Department. "Plus looking at the actual medical aspect of it to come up with their own conclusion."

Police said they can't determine exactly how long Pluck and her two children were exposed to the heat or an exact time of death. They believe it happened between 9:20a.m. when an eyewitness saw Pluck and her two children alive in the parking lot and 4:30p.m. when they were all found dead inside their car. 

As this time, investigators said they're leaning towards a possible undiagnosed mental health issue with Pluck based on the investigation and actions she performed on that day such as going to Wal-Mart early that morning, buying a DVD player and leaving the door to her home unlocked. They said they believe Pluck may have suffered an acute mental break that day and couldn't rationalize that staying in a vehicle with the windows up and engine off on a hot and humid day would cause their deaths. 

"Based on the findings of what we found in the car, at her residence, that there was no indication that she meant to cause harm to herself or her children," said Kifer. 

The Hagerstown Police Department said Pluck's family has been notified of the findings. Investigators said this was a tragic accident. 

"This gives some closure as to what caused their death," said Kifer. "It doesn't answer why. And we understand that no matter what the findings were, we were going to find here that there was probably going to be more questions than answers."

Pluck has been buried with her two daughters here in the United States at the request of her family and as agreed upon by the father of the children. The exact burial location is not known to investigators. 

The Hagerstown Police Department tells WHAG this case is now closed. 

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