The Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office announced Friday that Sara Kessler, a young mother found dead along with her infant son in a western Pennsylvania apartment in March, died of natural causes, not a drug overdose as first suspected.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Sara Kessler, 22, was found dead in her bed and her infant son, Casey Kessler, was found dead on the living room floor on March 6. Matthew Knaus, Sara’s brother, found his sister and nephew after stopping in to check on them when he failed to hear from Kessler for several days.
Allegheny County detectives originally thought Sara died of a drug overdose because of her known drug history. Baby Casey, with no one to take care of him and no food available within reach, died inside the apartment days after his mother’s death. The Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office performed autopsies and concluded Sara Kessler died from natural causes, specifically bronchial pneumonia of the heart, according to Pittsburgh’s WPXI. Authorities believe Sara was dead a week before Knaus found her body. Experts believe Casey could have survived anywhere from three to five days after his mother’s death.
The Medical Examiner’s Office, on Friday, also ruled Casey Kessler’s death an accident.
Speaking to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Matthew Knaus says he takes solace in knowing the tragedy was not his sister’s fault.
“It’s tragic either way, but it makes a difference to know it wasn’t her fault. When I thought it might be an overdose, I was a little bit resentful, to be honest with you. It’s a lot easier for me knowing that there was nothing anybody could do.”
Ten days before he found his sister and nephew, Matthew Knaus says Sara Kessler went to the doctor for what he believes was a virus and dehydration, but after the medical examiner’s findings, believes his sister did not realize how serious her illness was.
“I spoke to her a few days later, and she said she was feeling a little better but still sick. I question myself: why didn’t she ask me to take her to the hospital? Maybe she didn’t realize she was that sick.”
During the investigation of the deaths of Sara and Casey Kessler, a neighbor told authorities he had heard the baby crying for two days, but he did not report it. This, Matthew Knaus says, is still upsetting to him.
“What kind of person listens to a baby cry nonstop? But I feel guilty that me and my sister weren’t super close because of the age difference, I am 12 years older than her and think of her more as a daughter. It was normal that we wouldn’t talk for five or six days. I have a lot of guilt about that.”
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