A house fire early Tuesday morning has claimed the lives of two children. After the blaze of the fire was doused, the remains of 2-year-old Zaythoon Brandt were found laying on top of her 7-month-old sister, Zaynura. It appeared that the toddler was attempting to shield her baby sister from the inferno before she died. The girls’ father, Cameron Adams, was not home when the fire started.
Cameron Adams appeared in court on Wednesday after he was brought up on a charge of double culpable homicide. Adams had left his children home alone during the early morning hours on Tuesday. The courts will revisit his case on July 11. Police have been unable to find the mother of Zaythoon and Zaynura.
The victims’ mourning grandmother, Eleanor Adams, tells their story.
News24 reported that Eleanor Adams lived in the house next door to the children’s father. After he began stealing from her to feed his drug addiction, she had a “Wendy house” built for her son. Cameron was still allowed to visit her house, however, Eleanor admitted that she rarely slept at night. She felt that she had to “keep an eye on her son because he took valuables to sell.” He would use the money from stolen goods to pay for crystal methamphetamine, feeding his drug habit.
The night prior to the fire, the victims’ father had stolen Eleanor’s cell phone. When she told him to return it, he stated that he needed money to get it back. That is when she knew that her son had, most likely, taken the phone to a nearby drug house. Tearfully, Eleanor explained how desperately she had wished to help her son before anything happened to him or her grandchildren.
“I prayed for him. I went to drug rehabilitation centers to try and get help for him. And I taught him, through it all, that you don’t break in to steal or rob other people. There is a God that will deal with you if you have sticky fingers.”
Eleanor recalled that Cameron and his girlfriend left the children to get the stolen property back, despite her pleas to stay at home with the girls. She was exhausted and felt she wouldn’t be able to keep an eye on them that night. She was awake, however, when she heard the neighborhood dogs barking and saw flames coming from her son’s nearby home.
Neighbors armed with hoses attempted to put out the fire but it had quickly engulfed the entire house. Cameron came home and immediately headed toward the house screaming for his children. He was “thinking he could rescue them but he couldn’t.” Cameron Adams was arrested at the scene.
Eleanor is reportedly heartsick over losing her grandchildren. She fondly remembers how protective and doting Zaythoon was over her little sister. The girls were close and always together. With all their faults, Eleanor claims, “it’s how their parents raised them.”
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.