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Florida mother of sisters found in canal a person of interest in their deaths, police say

The girls, 7 and 9 years old, were found in the waterway hours apart Tuesday. Their mother has not been arrested or charged.

The deaths of two sisters whose bodies were found in a South Florida canal are considered suspicious, but a cause has not been determined, police said.

Destiny Hogan, 9, and Daysha Hogan, 7, were found dead Tuesday in a canal in Lauderhill, a city west of Fort Lauderdale, around eight hours apart, police said Wednesday.

The girls' mother, Tinessa Hogan, is a person of interest, police Lt. Mike Bigwood said at a news conference. She is not under arrest but was not home or out in the community, he said, adding he could not elaborate because of legal reasons. Police know the woman's location, he said.

The medical examiner's office has not ruled on the cause and manner of death for the two children, Bigwood said.

"At this point, I would classify it as two suspicious deaths. We are definitely treating it as if it was a criminal investigation," Bigwood said. He said detectives are exploring all possible leads and have been working non-stop since Tuesday.

Image: Destiny Hogan, 9, and Daysha Hogan, 7
Destiny Hogan, 9, and Daysha Hogan, 7.Lauderhill PD

The girls, who lived with their mother, were last seen with her around 5 p.m. Monday in the area, Bigwood said.

Neither had been reported missing, he said. The father is estranged from the family, he said.

Police said they not found any history of calls to police or child protective services in Broward County.

Destiny's body was found around noon Tuesday, and investigators discovered a second child might be missing, police said. Shortly after 8:30 p.m., someone called 911 to report a second body in the canal.

Police have receieved information that the mother may have been in the canal offering to baptize people, Bigwood said.

"That is an angle that's being looked at," he said, but he pleaded that anyone in the area or who knows the family contact police.

"We're hoping that the community reaches out and helps puts some context to how this may have happened," Bigwood said.