GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — Warrants are shedding new light on evidence that investigators gathered in a fire that killed three young children in Greensboro last year.

On Dec. 12, 2022, a home on Grimsley Street in Greensboro caught fire sometime before 8 a.m. and three children inside, a four-year-old and a set of one-year-old twins, were trapped inside, ultimately dying of carbon monoxide poisoning from the fire.

On Jan. 27, 2023, the mother of the three children, Brandi Sturdivant, was charged with three counts of felony child abuse. Police say that the children were home alone when the fire broke out.

Search warrants that were issued on the day of the fire offer more details about the day of the deadly fire. Several items were seized from the home, including burnt cell phones, a lighter, a gas can and several charred samples. An ATF canine indicated the possible presence of ignitable substances at multiple points in the house. 1 of 5 samples the canine signaled had some gasoline on it, but the warrants did not describe what those samples were or where they were found.

Dec. 12, 2022

Multiple neighbors who were up on the morning of Dec. 12 told police they had not seen Sturdivant’s car in the driveway at the Grimsley Street home since as early as 6:30 a.m. when a neighbor said they did not see her car at the home while leaving for work.

Ring camera video obtained from one of the neighbors shows the home with no car in the driveway around 7:45 a.m.

Just a few minutes later, around 7:48 a.m. a neighbor returning home from work saw smoke and fire at the home.

At 7:52 a.m. another neighbor got a knock at the door and Sturdivant was screaming for help. Ring camera video shows her car in the driveway and possibly a turn signal activated on the car.

Multiple 911 calls were received about the fire starting around 7:54 a.m. and Greensboro Fire Department arrived on the scene to a fully-involved fire at 7:58 a.m.

Investigators say that Ring camera footage showed Sturdivant driving her car into the cement barriers at the dead-end of Grimsley Street and making a three-point turn just after 8 a.m., where police made contact with her a moment later. She was taken to the hospital.

Relatives of Sturdivant and the children arrived on the scene and talked with investigators, telling them that Sturdivant had six children, but the oldest did not live with her at the home on Grimsley Street. They also told investigators they had filed multiple complaints with Child Protective Services with the complaints ranging from bad living conditions to abandonment and non-supervision.

Someone told investigators that around two months ago, Sturdivant told them she left all the children, ages ranging from 9 to 1 year, at home alone so she “could go out at night.”

Interviewing Sturdivant while on the scene on the same day, documents allege she told them that she and all five of the children slept in the master bedroom and that she did not run the baseboard heat in the winter, using a stove in the living room to heat the home instead. She told investigators she believed this is what started the fire.

She told them that she got her 9 and 7-year-old children up for school and they went to the bus stop and she went back to sleep with the younger children, and woke up to smoke in the house and went outside for help.

However, witness testimony disputed this and she allegedly changed her story, saying that she took the 7 and 9-year-old to school herself and was gone “no longer than five minutes.” The principal of their school confirmed seeing Sturdivant at the drop-off line around 7:30 a.m.

She said she had dropped her coat and cell phone in the yard when she had attempted to get into the house, but said the smoke and flames were too intense. Police officers found a coat but didn’t find a cell phone. Two cell phones were found in the house, but it was unclear if either of them were the phone that Sturdivant was currently using. Warrants were requested for the records for her phone number.

Multiple neighbors told investigators that they would see Sturdivant routinely leave her house without the children, with no apparent supervision for them. One of them recalled seeing the three youngest children playing in the yard, “undressed and dirty,” as she left. He said he sat and watched them from his porch until she returned home some hours later.

Another neighbor noted that she remembered Sturdivant telling her son, age 9, to come back home from playing with neighborhood children because he had to watch the 1-year-old twins while Sturdivant went out, while another neighbor said that they would frequently not see Sturdivant’s car in the driveway early in the morning when they got ready for work.

Prior complaints

According to the warrant, Guilford County Department of Health and Human Services had received a number of complaints about Sturdivant, dating back to 2016.

Complaints in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and two in 2021 were noted as “unknown complaint, case closed.”

In September of 2022, Greensboro Police Department charged Sturdivant with misdemeanor child neglect stemming from a situation where one of the toddler-aged twins was found covered in feces. GCDHHS removed the children from the home for 8 days, but returned them and closed the case.

In November 2022, an unknown person complained about the children being unsupervised. This case was still under investigation with GCDHHS at the time of the fire.

In addition to a complaint filed by the police after the fire, there were a total of nine complaints filed to GCDHHS.

Since the fire

GCDHHS did not release further documentation to the Greensboro Police Department, according to the warrant.

An autopsy revealed one child had cocaine in their system at the time of death, and Sturdivant allegedly told investigators where she kept her cocaine in the home.

On Tuesday, Sturdivant received two additional charges for felony parole violation, on top of the three counts of felony child abuse. The District Attorney has said it could consider homicide charges.

Sturdivant’s bond is $170,000.