A Philadelphia couple will stand trial in the death of a 9-month-old baby who died of a drug overdose after being injected with massive amounts of heroin and cocaine.
In a horrifying discovery, Doctors found “track marks” — bruises left from needle punctures — on the child’s hands and feet, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. The child’s aunt, Viameri Santana-Berrios, 27, and Oscar Sanchez-Rivera, 24, were looking after baby Milton Galarza-Rojas when he died.
It is unclear exactly much cocaine and heroin was injected into the baby but a medical examiner reportedly told a Philadelphia court that Rojas had so many drugs in his body that he compared him to a “drug mule.”
The Daily Mail has more on the disturbing details of the the 9-month-old’s death:
Paramedic Dale Schroder told the court that he recognized ‘track marks’ normally found on drug addicts when he was trying to revive the baby.
He said he had been called to the home last July after the baby was reported as being unresponsive.
Schroeder said Santana-Berrios led him to a bedroom where he saw Sanchez-Rivera standing over the body of a baby who was naked and lying on a towel on the bed.
The child was cool to the touch, pale, and unresponsive, and Schroeder’s said his efforts failed to revive the child.Schroeder said he and his partner took the child to St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, where he was pronounced dead.
At the hospital, the paramedic added, Milton’s internal body temperature was already too low to register on a rectal thermometer.
Medical examiner Lieberman Edwin said an autopsy showed eight needle marks on the feet and hands as well as heroin and cocaine still undigested in the child’s stomach.
Lieberman said he had never seen this level of drugs before in a child.
Both defendants gave statements to detectives that claimed the baby, who had a history of breathing problems, began snoring, stopped breathing, and turned blue.
The Philadelphia Inquirer says defense attorneys strenuously contested the charges during Tuesday’s preliminary hearing. The couple is charged with murder, conspiracy and other counts in the July 26 death of Rojas.
Sanchez-Rivera’s attorney Michael Medway said it made no sense for him to inject and kill a child that he and his girlfriend were only watching for her cousin. “Why? Because the kid is too much of a pain?” Medway asked.
Further, Santana-Berrios’ lawyer said that neither autopsy nor witnesses could show that his client injected drugs into the baby.
Prosecutors, however, cited a medical examiner’s testimony that the heroin and cocaine had to have been ingested or injected within six hours of death.
“For 391/2 hours, this baby was in the care of these two people,” Assistant District Attorney Kirn argued. “Take a look at the math and at the level of care and how they acted. The body has track marks. Track marks on a baby.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.