Pennsylvania couple Justin Dwyer and Courtney Stash are facing multiple charges in connection with the death of their 2-year-old son Eoin Dwyer, who died of suffocation after they allegedly tied a mattress and 50-pound salt bag on top of his crib to keep him from climbing out.
Dwyer, 29, and Stash, 28, appeared in court on August 23, Wednesday, where they were arraigned on charges of involuntary manslaughter, conspiracy, aggravated assault, and recklessly endangering another person, to name a few, the Daily Mail reported.
According to Penn Live, police responded to a call from the couple’s Myerstown home on April 25, during which Stash reported that he found her son unresponsive and slumped over the railing of his crib. She allegedly told authorities that she took the toddler into the living room, where she performed CPR on him. However, the toddler was already dead when emergency responders arrived on the scene.
The crib was located inside the master’s bedroom, where Justin Dwyer was reportedly sleeping at the time of the incident.
According to Fox News, neither parents initially told the police that they used a mattress, salt bag, and bungee cords to cover the crib to prevent the toddler for escaping. The police only learned about the information when Stash’s 8-year-old son revealed it to them days after Eoin’s death.
Stash’s son told detectives that the couple “routinely” covered the crib with a mattress wrapped in a blue Toy Story bed sheet to keep Eoin from getting out. They would later add 50-pound salt bags to weigh the mattress down and fastened it with a cord with hooks on both ends. When Eoin could eventually push the mattress, they started to secure it with bungee cords.
When the family’s home was searched on April 28, the police found the mattress, Toy Story bed sheet, and salt bags inside the room where the crib was situated. Scuff marks were also found on the crib where the bungee cord hooks were presumed to have been attached.
An autopsy determined that the official cause of death is asphyxia due to “entrapment between the crib and overlying twin mattress secured by bungee cording.”
Courtney Stash’s attorney, Greer Anderson, said that Stash was working the night Eoin died and that the incident took place before she got home. Scott Greenoble, Justin Dwyer’s attorney, said his client denies the charges.
“This was a tragedy and an accident,” Greenoble told Penn Live. “We don’t think there is basis for criminal charges. The truth will be borne out.”
Both of the accused have not entered their respective pleas, but are expected to return to court next week. Dwyer and Stash are being held at the Lebanon County prison on a $250,000 bail each.
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