A 5-month-old baby girl may have been left alone for at least four days, starving and dehydrated, before dying, after her parents 19-year-old mother, Chelsea Cardaro and her father, Jason Chambers, 27, fatally overdosed on heroin.
The small body of the infant Summer Chambers was discovered Thursday inside a bassinet in the upstairs bedroom of a Johnstown, Pennsylvania, home, after a family friend who hadn't heard from the couple for over a week paid them a visit.
The body of the infant's mum was found in a neighboring bathroom while that of her father's was found lifeless on the first floor.
Local pathologists estimated Summer’s parents may have been a week before they were found.
According to Cambria County District Attorney Kelly Callihan, authorities believe the mother and father died almost simultaneously.
“It’s so sad and really illustrates just how bad the heroin epidemic is, not only here but across the country”. “Had they not died within minutes of each other, we believe one would have called 911 for help for the other.”
Callihan says, adding:
“The pathologists said a child can live a couple of days without food or milk. 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,” Callihan says.
Last Friday, officials confirmed that Summer succumbed to dehydration and starvation days after her parenst died of heroin overdose.
Callihan said a friend was called to check on Chambers and Cardaro when the couple, who had recently moved to Pennsylvania from New York, failed to show up for planned holiday festivities.
“Neighbors didn’t think it was out of the ordinary that they didn’t see them around, because they were traveling to New York for Christmas”. “Someone called one of their friends, who opened a window and climbed inside.” The friend found all three bodies and immediately called 911.
Callihan added that police recovered “evidence of drug use and heroin” from the couples’ home and believes the two “were using a substance that was obviously laced with something.” Tests are being performed on the heroin that was removed from the residence to determine if other chemicals were present, she says.
This isn't the first time the couple had overdosed. Last month, Chambers overdosed on heroin and responding police and EMS technicians were able to revive him using Narcan, a heroin overdose antidote.
State child welfare authorities were contacted after Chambers overdosed, Callihan says. Officials visited the home on Dec. 7 and “felt everything was appropriate,” so no action was 'needed' according to the officials. Especially after Cardaro “denied being a drug user.”
From her Facebook posts, she seemed like her child was her world, unfortunately drugs took over.
Source: PEOPLE magazine