updated 8/25/2008 5:58:36 PM ET 2008-08-25T21:58:36

A 3-year-old brother and sister died after they spent more than two hours in a sweltering car parked in the driveway of the family home, investigators said Monday.

The temperature was about 75 degrees when the children were found Sunday afternoon, two hours after they were reported missing, authorities said. Shawnee County Sheriff's Sgt. Akim Reynolds said the temperature inside a car with its windows up could have reached 20 to 30 degrees warmer.

The girl, who was about to turn 4 next month, was pronounced dead at the scene. The boy, who had just turned 3 on Aug. 2, was pronounced dead at a hospital.

The mother was being questioned by detectives. The children's father, who Reynolds said worked out of town, had been notified and was returning to Topeka.

Authorities also were trying to determine how the children ended up in the car, Sheriff's Sgt. Jay Simecka said. The coroner was doing a preliminary investigation, Simecka said, and "we will know something more in the next day or so."

The car was unlocked and the boy was found in the front seat, the girl in the back seat, Reynolds said.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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