2-year-old boy suffocates after parents tie mattress on crib to stop his escapes

MYERSTOWN, Pa. (AP) – A Pennsylvania couple has been jailed on charges they tied and weighted down a mattress on top of their son’s crib so he couldn’t climb out, leading him to suffocate.

Twenty-nine-year-old Justin Dwyer and 28-year-old Courtney Stash were arraigned Wednesday on involuntary manslaughter and other counts in the April death of their 2-year-old son.

Detectives say the Myerstown couple was weighing down the mattress with two 50-pound bags of rock salt and securing it with bungee cords.


A police affidavit says they did not mention covering the crib when interviewed.

Police say a few days later, their 8-year-old son told them of the alleged practice.

Police say the boy suffocated when his head got caught between the crib and overlying mattress.

“The toddler somehow got himself trapped within this, ah, what I’ll say, contraption, and eventually, uh, uh suffocated, or, suffocated and passed away,” said Lebanon Co. District Attorney David J. Arnold, Jr.

The couple’s lawyers didn’t immediately return calls.

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