*Hand on heart here. A five-month-old child is said to have died of starvation after her parents died from an apparent overdose days earlier. Authorities confirm that the bodies of Jason Chambers, 27, and Chelsea Cardaro, 19, who were new to the Pennsylvania area, was found dead in their home in the Kernsville section of Johnstown.
The couple, who is said to have died within moments of each other, was found by a friend approximately one week after they died.
An autopsy reports the baby, named Summer, who was found on the second floor of the home, had died from starvation and dehydration approximately four days after her parents.
“It was hard going in there and being the one to see them like that,” the friend, James Grant, told local station WAJC-TV. “They cared for their daughter. For two flawed people, they did their best to hold it together.”
This wasn’t the first time an overdose had occurred at the home. Jason is said to have OD’d once before, but was revived by medical personnel.
A report was made after his overdose to Children and Youth Services, according to District Attorney Kelly Callihan, who gave a press conference on Friday at Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center.
“They did meet with the mother and the father with the child present at the residence,” she said, and continued. “They checked out the house, and it was appropriate to a child living there. There was plenty of food and the child seemed well taken care of.”
Johnstown police Capt. Chad Miller said: “It’s an unfortunate incident where they both possibly overdosed at the same time – and being from out of town, not having anybody in town – it was too long for anybody to notice that they were missing.”
Apparently, the family was last seen on December 11, and friends thought the had gone to visit New York; where they lived previously.
These unfortunate deaths not only bring attention to the growing use of heroin; and the danger it continues to present to children in the home of these addicts; but it also alerts us to how easily people who move to new areas — as many of us once did and continue to do — without the necessary support can go unnoticed.
So sad. So very sad. RIP little Summer.
“If you are addicted, if you’re using heroin and you have children, you’re endangering their lives,” Callihan said. “You need to get help for your children.”
Heroin deaths in the U.S. are skyrocketing. Last year, for the first time in more than 15 years, heroin caused more deaths than gun homicides, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.