NEWPORT TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — State police say they arrested two people after their infant daughter was found dead inside a Newport Township home.
According to Pennsylvania State Police, on December 23, around 8:30 p.m., troopers were called to a house on 3rd Street in the Glen Lyon section of Newport Township for 19-month-old Phoenix who was not breathing.
Responding EMS said they found Phoniex dead in her bedroom with rigor mortis setting in, her eyes sunken with black spots, and her fingertips had no coloration.
The victim’s parents James Kasisky, 26, and Valentina Varela-Luis, 25, were later interviewed by investigators following the incident. Through further investigation, police say both parents neglected to check on the victim for over 24 hours before she was found dead.
After an autopsy report was completed at the Luzerne County coroner’s office, Dr. Gary Gross stated the victim’s stomach was empty, minus a small amount of fluid. Dr. Gross says the cause of the victim’s death has been ruled a homicide caused by dehydration and metabolic imbalance due to neglect.
“This case is horrific. It’s nightmarish for any parent with children. The affidavit speaks for itself. Our extensive investigation, involving forensic and medical teams found the baby was unattended for a period of greater than 24 hours, and we proceeded with the charges. I think the message is you got to watch your child every step of the way.” stated Shana Messinger, Assistant Disictrt Attorney of Luzerne County.
Kasisky and Varela-Luis are charged with involuntary manslaughter, endangering the welfare of a child, and reckless endangerment. They remain in the Luzerne County Correctional Facility with no bail set.