This article was originally published on GoErie.com by Tim Hahn on May 7, 2018
Erie police investigators charge that a city man left his 11-month-old son unattended in a bathtub in early December when he left their westside apartment to cash his paycheck without telling anyone else that the boy was bathing.
A relative later called 911 to report an infant drowning at the apartment.
Eli Austin was rushed to UPMC Hamot on the evening of Dec. 5 and was later transferred to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, where he died on Dec. 9.
Eli’s father, 30-year-old Trevor D. Austin, was in the Erie County Prison on $75,000 bond Sunday following his arraignment Saturday by Erie 2nd Ward District Judge Paul Urbaniak on a second-degree felony count of involuntary manslaughter and on a misdemeanor count of recklessly endangering.
An autopsy performed on Eli at the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Ofice on Dec. 11 determined that the cause of the boy’s death was drowning, Erie police Detective Mike Suchy wrote in the affidavit of probable cause accompanying the criminal complaint against Austin, which was filed on Friday.
Officials in the Erie County District Attorney’s Office declined to comment on the case Sunday.
Investigators charge that Austin acted negligently when he left Eli unattended in the bathtub of the family’s apartment in the 400 block of West Eighth Street on the evening of Dec. 5. First responders were sent to the apartment at about 8 p.m. after a man called 911 to report an infant drowning, authorities reported at the time.
According to information in the affidavit, Erie police officers who went to the apartment were advised that Eli was found face-down and unresponsive in a bathtub full of water. The boy was rushed to UPMC Hamot and was then transferred to Children’s Hospital.
Suchy also wrote in the affidavit that Austin’s negligence on Dec. 5 contributed to Eli’s death, as he was directly responsible for the care and custody of the boy. According to investigators, Austin placed Eli in the bathtub and left the boy unattended in the water for about 20 minutes while Austin left the apartment to cash his paycheck. Austin did not notify anyone else inside the apartment that Eli was in the bathtub, according to the complaint.
Erie police said at the time of the drowning that Eli’s parents were in the apartment when a relative found the boy.
Investigators said they interviewed Austin and other family members as part of the investigation into Eli’s death.