SULLIVAN COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced the arrest of three people for charges related to the death of a newborn, stating they waited days to report the death.
According to Shapiro, on January 20, 2022, Pennsylvania State Police were called to the residence in Sullivan County in response to an infant death.
Once police arrived, investigators said they learned the child actually died three days earlier, but the parents, Amy Hoenigke, 34, and Drew Hoenigke, 31, both of Mildred, waited to contact any authorities out of fear that their two-year-old would be taken away.
Further investigation into the death revealed that the child had been born at home around January 15, according to court documents.
Police say, Brigette Meckes, 47, of New York, a friend of the Hoenigkes, was present to assist during the birth. Meckes had experience in the medical field but was not licensed to practice medical care, stated police.
After the birth, investigators said they learned the baby showed signs of severe distress. Through messages from the defendants, police said they described the baby as struggling to breathe and “turning blue.”
As stated in the affidavit, in a failed attempt to aid the child, Amy Hoenigke and Meckes utilized a peppermint oil infuser and attempted to create a makeshift breathing tube from a water bottle. Without proper medical care, police stated the baby died approximately two days after birth.
“These individuals neglected their responsibilities to care for an innocent child. By failing to get him appropriate medical care, this baby needlessly suffered and died. Terrible tragedies like these can be prevented,” stated Attorney General Shapiro.
Amy Hoenigke, Drew Hoenigke, and Brigette Meckes have been charged with involuntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, recklessly endangering another person, and endangering the welfare of children