A 2-year-old boy from Pennsylvania died after his parents allegedly tied a mattress and 50-pound driveway salt bags on top of his crib.
Justin Joseph Dwyer, 29, and Courtney Stash, 28, were arraigned Wednesday on charges including involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault.
According to Penn Live, police were called to the couple’s Myerstown home on April 25 after Stash found her son Eoin unresponsive in his crib.
Stash allegedly told authorities that the toddler was slumped over the railing of the crib not breathing and she took him into the living room to perform CPR.
Dwyer allegedly said he was asleep in the master bedroom, the same room the crib was located, when Eoin stopped breathing.
An autopsy determined that Eoin had suffocated.
Greer Anderson, an attorney for Stash, told Penn Live that Stash was working the night Eoin died and the incident happened before she got home. Dwyer’s attorney, Scott Greenoble, told the outlet that his client denies the charges.
“This was a tragedy and an accident,” he said. “We don’t think there is basis for criminal charges. The truth will be borne out.”
Investigators said Stash’s oldest child, an 8-year-old boy, said his mom and stepdad “routinely” used a mattress with a blue “Toy Story” bed sheet and driveway salt bags to cover Eoin’s crib to keep the toddler from climbing out. Police said the salt bags weighed about 50 pounds.
The child said Stash and Dwyer had recently started using a bungee cord with hooks to secure the mattress and salt bags on top of the crib because Eoin was able to move the items, Penn Live reports.
Lebanon County district attorney Dave Arnolds told WGAL that Eoin somehow “got himself trapped with this contraption” and suffocated.
Fox News reports that his head became lodged between the weighted down mattress and the crib.
During an April 28 search of the home, police found the “Toy Story” bed sheet, the salt bags and the mattress in the room where the crib was located.
A detective said there was also scuff marks on the crib from the bungee cord hooks.
Dwyer and Stash are currently being held at the Lebanon County prison on a $ 250,000 bail each.
Dwyer’s mother is said to be in the care of the couple’s children, which includes Eoin’s twin sisters. The family made headlines in December 2014 when Stash gave birth to triplets on Christmas Day.