A Pennsylvania couple has been arrested and charged in connection with the death of their newborn son after police say they didn’t take him to the hospital because they don’t believe in modern medicine.
Amy Hoenigke, 34, and her husband Drew Hoenigke, 31, were arrested on charges of manslaughter, aggravated assault, recklessly endangering another person and endangering the welfare of children, the Bureau said. of the State Attorney General in a statement. Press release.
Her friend, Brigitte Meckes, 47, was also arrested on the same charges after investigators learned she was present at the baby’s home delivery on January 14.
State police responded to the Sullivan County home on Jan. 20 after Amy Hoenigke called 911 to report finding her son dead in his bassinet, according to a criminal complaint. Responding soldiers found the newborn already had signs of decomposition and determined that he had died about three days before the 911 call was made.
Police also found an “infuser and a container with remains of burnt herbs” next to the bassinet, the complaint says.
Amy Hoenigke told investigators that her son began to show signs of having trouble breathing and was “turning blue” shortly after he was born, according to the complaint.
Attorney General Josh Shapiro said that “in a failed attempt to help the boy, Amy Hoenigke and Meckes used a peppermint oil infuser and attempted to create a makeshift breathing tube out of a water bottle.”
“Without proper medical care, the baby died approximately two days after birth,” he said.
Authorities said Amy Hoenigke texted a friend about the situation with her son and at one point said Meckes tried for 12 hours to keep the baby breathing. The criminal complaint alleges that Amy Hoenigke tried to use mint and “vape teas” to treat her son and she used a plastic straw to try to clear her nasal passage.
Asked by investigators why she didn’t take the baby to a medical facility, she said she and her husband don’t believe in modern medicine and live an unconventional life where they don’t recognize time frames or days of the week, says the complaint. . They also feared that they would take her 2-year-old daughter. The little girl was also born at home and does not have a birth certificate, the complaint says.
Shapiro said experts believe the parents’ actions “resulted in unnecessary suffering” for the baby “and made it impossible for it to survive.”
“These individuals neglected their responsibilities to care for an innocent child,” Shapiro said in a statement. “By not receiving proper medical attention, this baby suffered and died needlessly.”
The criminal complaint further alleges that police found a makeshift wooden coffin at the Hoenigke home. Drew Hoenigke allegedly told investigators that the ground was frozen by snow, so they couldn’t bury the boy.
It is unclear whether the defendants have obtained lawyers who can speak on their behalf.