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South Hills

McKeesport mom sent video of lifeless child she smothered to boy's father, police allege

| Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016, 11:09 a.m.
Christian Clark.
Christian Clark.
Allegheny County Poilce Superintendent Coleman McDonough.
Kristina Serafini | Tribune-Review
Allegheny County Poilce Superintendent Coleman McDonough.
Allegheny County Poilce Superintendent Coleman McDonough (left) takes questions from the media alongside McKeesport police Chief Bryan J. Washowich during a press conference about the arrest of Christian Clark, 21, on charges of criminal homicide in the smothering death of her 1-year-old son and attempted smothering of her 2-year-old daughter.
Kristina Serafini | Tribune-Review
Allegheny County Poilce Superintendent Coleman McDonough (left) takes questions from the media alongside McKeesport police Chief Bryan J. Washowich during a press conference about the arrest of Christian Clark, 21, on charges of criminal homicide in the smothering death of her 1-year-old son and attempted smothering of her 2-year-old daughter.

Angry at the father of her two children for allegedly cheating on her and refusing to come over, a McKeesport woman warned him during a more than two-hour exchange of cellphone text messages: “Ima Kill them watch.”

About an hour after that text message at 9:05 p.m. Tuesday, Allegheny County police said, Christian Clark made good on her promise.

Three videos sent to the father show the aftermath of her suffocating their 17-month-old son, Andre Price III, and trying to kill their 2-year-old daughter, police say.

Clark, 21, has been charged with criminal homicide for pressing her son's face into the bedding of an air mattress until he stopped breathing. Police also have charged her with attempted homicide for pushing her daughter's face down into a pillow, according to a police affidavit.

She is being held in the Allegheny County Jail without bail pending her preliminary hearing Nov. 16.

The text message exchange Tuesday between Clark and boyfriend Andre Price Jr. went from 8:25 p.m. until Clark called 911 about an unresponsive child at 11:13 p.m., the affidavit said.

McKeesport police and first responders were dispatched to an apartment in the Hi View Gardens housing complex after the call.

The boy was transported to UPMC McKeesport, where he was pronounced dead, the county Medical Examiner's Office said.

The daughter was examined and released, said county police Superintendent Coleman McDonough.

Clark repeats the threats against the children several times in text messages until, at 9:56 p.m., the boyfriend texted her that he wasn't coming over to her house, warning her to leave the children alone, the affidavit said.

“Im killing them,” Clark responded in a 10:01 text message that had a laughing emoji with tears coming out of its eyes, the affidavit said.

About 10 minutes later, she allegedly sent him photos showing both children lying face down; the daughter's face is in a pillow, and the son's face is in a comforter.

Shortly after that, the affidavit said, Clark sends a video of the children saying that the daughter “is still alive and sweating your son on the other hand is not even breathing.”

About five minutes later, she sends a second video in which she pulls up their crying daughter's head to show that she's still alive, the affidavit said. Then she pulls her son's head up to show there's no reaction.

Clark can be heard on the video saying, “First of all she is clearly fine, because watch, see she is not dead. Him on the other hand, he doesn't budge. So you might want to call the ambulance.”

In a subsequent message, Clark texts the children's father: “They'll blame you for leaving them with me lol they talk about how I have issues & needed help & ya son wont even be remembered now that is actually sad,” the affidavit says.

Clark then adds these text messages: “Im sure it'll hurt me once im sitting in jail & you got all the evidence you need so I cant even say he suffocated in his sleep or say idk what happened...”

Shortly after, Price responds, “I'm just not going to reply no more if you wanna go to jail you know what to do.”

In one of her last text messages, Clark says, “I really snapped this time.”

When Clark texts that she's going to call 911, Price responds, “You need to if he dead.”

When Clark called 911, she initially told responders she had found her son lying unresponsive on the air mattress. During questioning by McKeesport police, she admitted that she had killed him and tried to kill her daughter, said McDonough.

Allegheny County police took over the investigation and discovered the exchange of cellphone text messages between Clark and her boyfriend in which she accuses him of sleeping with another woman and rapidly escalates into her threatening to kill the children.

The boyfriend never contacted authorities, even after Clark sent the video of his son's lifeless body, McDonough said.

Though the investigation is ongoing, he said police “don't foresee charging him.”

Brian Bowling is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-325-4301 or bbowling@tribweb.com.

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