According to police, a 2-year-old Pennsylvania boy died from suffocation when his parents allegedly tied a mattress and multiple 50-pound salt bags over top of his crib.
Justin Joseph Dwyer, 29, and Courtney Stash, 28, were arraigned on involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault charges on Wednesday after police were called to their home in April when Stash found her son Eoin unresponsive in his crib. At the time, she told authorities that the boy was slumped over the railing of the crib and wasn’t breathing, so she moved into into the living room where she performed CPR. Dwyer allegedly told police that he was asleep in the same room the crib was in when the toddler stopped breathing.
Stash’s 8-year-old son told investigators that the parents frequently used a mattress, driveway salt bags and a bungee cord to cover Eoin’s crib in attempt to stop him from climbing out. The boy said this had been going on for weeks, and he heard his mother and stepfather talking about the mattress “holding Eoin down on his neck so that he could not get out” before police arrived the morning he died.
In their initial interviews, the parents denied using any items to cover the crib. However, an autopsy confirmed that the toddler died from “asphyxia due to entrapment between crib and overlying twin mattress secured by bungee cording.” Detectives also located the items described by the toddler’s older half-brother in the bedroom with the crib. Stash and Dwyer are being held on a $250,000 bail each. A lawyer for Dwyer has spoken out against the charges.
“This was a tragedy and an accident,” Scott Grenoble said, adding that he can’t discuss what he believes to be the child’s cause of death. “We don’t think there is basis for criminal charges. The truth will be borne out.”
Eoin was also a triplet who made headlines when he and his sisters were born on Christmas Day in 2014.