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Mother looking for stolen drugs charged in death of twin toddlers in fire

Trib Total Media

A house fire in North Braddock, Pa., on Jan. 4, 2013, claimed the lives of 3-year-old twins Ky'Heir (left) and Dy'Heir Arthur.

A Pittsburgh mother whose 3-year-old twins died in a fire -- after she left them home alone to hunt for stolen marijuana --  has been charged with involuntary manslaughter in the toddlers’ deaths.

Dalawna Berran-Lett, 32, was also charged with endangering the welfare of children and reckless endangerment by Allegheny County Police after her two boys, Ky'heir and Dy'heir Arthur were killed in the Jan. 4 fire.

Police believe Berran-Lett left the boys unattended for at least 45 minutes while she tried to retrieve the bag of weed that had been stolen by her teenage daughter.

Investigators believe the twins started the fire trying to cook something.

It wasn't the first time the boys had used the stove – or the first time pot was involved.

In late December, Berran-Lett came home to find smoke in the kitchen as the twins attempted to cook ribs, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported. In that instance, police said she had left the children unattended for about 20 minutes while she went shopping -- for rolling papers to smoke marijuana. 

On Jan. 4, Berran-Lett told police she had left the boys watching television, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

"It was too cold outside" to take them with her, she reportedly told police.

After locking the front door, she went looking for her daughter, Mariah, 15, who she believed had taken the marijuana from her purse. Police believe the woman left the house around 2:45 p.m.

While she was gone, investigators believe the boys turned on the stove, then, as the grease caught fire, the flames engulfed the wood-frame rental house.

The first call to the firefighters went out at 3:33 p.m., police said, from a contractor working on a neighboring house.

Berran-Lett returned to find her home on fire and surrounded by firefighters. Her daughter was also standing outside.

According to the Post-Gazette, one of the twins died of burns and smoke inhalation, while the other died of smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide poisoning.

Berran-Lett surrendered to police Tuesday afternoon. Her attorney, R. Blaine Jones II told the Tribune-Review the woman was distraught. 

"She is in the state of complete shock. She just buried her babies on Saturday,” Jones said.

Her daughter is currently staying with relatives, police said.