A 5-month-old girl died of hunger and dehydration after her parents fatally, and simultaneously, overdosed on heroin in the same Pennsylvania home, attorneys said.
The infant’s painful death occurred over the course of as many as four days, after her 19-year-old mother, Chelsea Cardaro, and father, Jason Chambers, 27, overdosed on heroin at the same time.
“The pathologists said a child can live a couple of days without food or milk,” said Kelly Callihan, the Cambria County District Attorney, to People magazine. “She was only 5 months old, so she was on her back … she had no way to move from that bassinet.”
“This was a picture in my mind I’d rather forget,” she said.
Authorities believe that the couple had been dead a week by the time a friend found them along with the infant, who the parents had named Summer. When police visited the home, they found drug paraphernalia and heroin, which they believe was laced with something that likely caused the overdose.
Chambers had previously been treated by medical responders for a non-fatal heroin overdose only a month ago. Child protective services visited the home soon after, but couldn’t find evidence of inappropriate behavior, and at the time the young mother denied being a drug user.
Friends had noticed that the family was missing after they failed to show up for a Christmas party.