Beaver County man faces homicide charge for falling asleep, suffocating 2-year-old boy
A Freedom Borough man who took an unprescribed painkiller, fell asleep on a 2-year-old boy and unwittingly suffocated the child has been charged with homicide, police said.
Ty Michael Lucente, 37, was arraigned Sunday and booked into the Beaver County Prison. He was denied bail.
Shortly after 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Lucente called 911 to request medics at his residence on Fifth Avenue.
First responders arrived to find a 2-year-old boy who was not breathing, Freedom police Chief Eugene St. Clair told the Tribune-Review.
Medics tried to resuscitate the child, but their “extreme life-saving measures were ineffective,” a criminal complaint said.
The child — who would have turned 3 next month — was pronounced dead at 5:30 p.m.
An autopsy is pending by the Beaver County Coroner, St. Clair said.
Investigators learned that since 8:30 a.m. on the day of the child’s death, Lucente was responsible for caring for the 2-year-old boy and three other children, an infant, a 7-year-old and a 12-year-old, the complaint said.
When questioned, Lucente told police that he took a Suboxone pill, then fell asleep on the living room couch.
Lucente told police that he does not have a prescription to take Suboxone. He admitted to “buying it on the street” illegally in New Castle, St. Clair said.
Lucente recalled waking up briefly around 11 a.m. to check on the baby infant, then returning to sleep in the living room, the complaint said.
The 2-year-old boy, who was not Lucente’s biological son, was “directly beside/underneath Mr. Lucente as he slept,” the complaint said.
Lucente is 6 feet, 2 inches tall and weighs about 240 pounds, according to the complaint.
His girlfriend, the biological mother of the boy, returned home, and woke Lucente by arguing on the phone. She and Lucente then discovered the child was unconscious and would not wake, prompting Lucente to call 911.
The older children were playing nearby under the supervision of a family friend, St. Clair said. They remain in the custody of their mother, Lucente’s girlfriend.
Police obtained search warrants and found tablets of Suboxone in Lucente’s home, the pill he said he took earlier that day.
Suboxone is a combination of naloxone and buprenorphine that typically is prescribed to treat opioid addiction, but it also contains opioids and can be abused. Its effects can include drowsiness, especially combined with other drugs or alcohol.
Police are awaiting the results of Lucente’s blood and toxicity tests.
“We’re are still continuing to investigate,” St. Clair said.
Beaver County authorities are assisting Freedom police in the investigation.
The Beaver County District Attorney’s Office will be responsible for evaluating the homicide charge and deciding how to proceed.
Natasha Lindstrom is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Natasha at 412-380-8514, [email protected] or via Twitter .