The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

January 15, 2013

Mother charged with endangering baby who died

By Joe Pinchot
Herald Staff Writer

HERMITAGE — A Hermitage woman has been charged with endangering her baby for taking drugs and sleeping with the girl on the night the baby died.

Diana M. Phythyon, 35, of 270 Ellis Ave., Hermitage, has been sent a summons to appear for a preliminary hearing at 9 a.m. Jan. 31 before District Judge Ronald E. Antos, Farrell, on charges of child endangering and reckless endangerment.

Hermitage police gave this account:

Police responded to Phythyon’s home at 10:05 p.m. Nov. 17 for a report that a 9-week-old child was not breathing. The girl, Amaya Phythyon, had no vital signs, and her mother was lethargic and appeared to be under the influence of drugs.

The child was pronounced dead at 10:28 p.m. at a local hospital.

Police interviewed Phythyon and found her to be slow to respond, unsteady on her feet and with slurred speech. She repeatedly fell asleep during the interview.

Phythyon seemed unconcerned about her baby, police said.

Phythyon’s mother, Janice Phythyon, said her daughter had taken pills that night in a “half-hearted” suicide attempt. Diana Phythyon went to bed with the baby in the same bed at about 6 p.m., her mom said

Janice Phythyon said she checked on the baby between 9 and 10 p.m. and found her completely covered with a comforter and lifeless.

The Mercer County Coroner’s Office ruled that Amaya died of sudden infant death syndrome.

A toxicology report of Diana Phythyon’s blood from the night her baby died showed she had consumed a therapeutic amount of oxycodone, a narcotic painkiller, and a high level of Doxepin, an antidepressant. A doctor told police the Doxepin would have made Phythyon sleepy.

Interviewed Dec. 26, Diana Phythyon told police she had taken sleeping pills at about 7:30 p.m. the day her baby died in an attempt to kill herself, but had thrown them up. She fed Amaya, placed the baby on her back on a pillow and put a comforter up to her chin.

Phythyon said she slept in the same bed with Amaya and acknowledged she had been told at the hospital where Amaya was born that she should not sleep with her because of the risk of accidental suffocation when a parent rolls over onto a baby.