Sheriff: Mother confesses to suffocating children

Orangeburg County Sheriff Larry Williams holding a press conference Tuesday.

ORANGEBURG (WACH, AP) -- South Carolina authorities say a mother who claimed her children drowned when their car careened into a river has been charged with murder after confessing to suffocating the toddlers and then faking the accident.

Orangeburg County Sheriff Larry Williams said Tuesday that 29-year-old Shaquan Duley told police she was distraught after a dispute with her own mother and killed her children by putting her hand over their mouths. He says Duley then strapped the children into her car and drove it into a river Monday morning.

UPDATE Coroner: Boy struggled with mother before death

Duley was arrested Monday on a charge of leaving the scene of an accident after her sons were found dead in a vehicle in the river, still strapped into their car seats.

Williams says there were questions about the mother's account that she was involved in a wreck and could not get the children out of the car.

Autopsies are planned Tuesday on the bodies of 2-year-old Devean C. Duley and 18-month-old Ja'van T. Duley to determine how they died.

Williams said at a press conference Monday the children, ages 1 and 2, were recovered from the North Edisto River after the car was found near a boat landing.

Authorities were alerted early Monday about the car but have not said how the vehicle ended up in the water.

Investigators say they recovered the children about 45 minutes after they were called to the scene.

The Orangeburg County coroner released the names of the two toddlers Monday afternoon.

Coroner Samuetta Marshall said a cause of death would be announced following autopsies on Tuesday.

Sheriff Williams says authorities are investigating to determine whether the deaths were an accident.

Duley is to be arraigned Wednesday.

Click here to read Tuesday's press release from the Orangeburg County Sheriff's Department.

Click here to read Monday's press release from the Orangeburg County Sheriff's Department.

Watch video of the car being pulled from the river on the Orangeburg Times and Democrat's website.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)