A woman who was with the children on Sunday had gone inside to use the toilet when the children disappeared into a home in Live Oak, said the Suwannee County sheriff's officials.
Two girls of 1 and 4 years and a 6-year-old boy came in the freezer.
The woman returned to the garden, could not locate the children, woke another woman, and they began to search the property and the surroundings, the authorities said. They opened the freezer and started resuscitation efforts before calling 911. The first respondents were also unable to resuscitate the children.
"Upon closer inspection of the freezer, an after-market hasp was installed on the lid to secure a padlock," said the sheriff's office in a Facebook message. "It is believed at this time, that when the children entered the freezer, and the lid closed, the bolt was shut, the children caught in. There was no padlock on the freezer."
Sheriff Sam St. John said Monday that officials were waiting for autopsy results.
I just think it's a tragic accident, they left the freezer behind in the garden, it was not cold or something, & # 39; he said.
Officials said that false play was not suspected, although the case will be forwarded to a public prosecutor's office for review. The Department of Children and Families in Florida has been informed.
According to the sheriff, two of the children were brothers and sisters – the 1-year-old girl and the 6-year-old boy – and they were in custody of their grandmother. The 4-year-old girl was the daughter of another woman.
Laws are intended to prevent child mortality
Authorities have worked for years to prevent similar deaths with household appliances in Florida and across the country.
Federal law banned fridges with locks and required manufacturers to design and produce refrigerators that comply with the new safety standards.
The committee said that the "surest method" to protect families "is to take the door completely out and in most cases this is a simple process using a screwdriver."
CNN & # 39; s Theresa Waldrop and Nicole Chavez have contributed to this report.