Vandergrift man charged with involuntary manslaughter in death of infant son |
Valley News Dispatch

Vandergrift man charged with involuntary manslaughter in death of infant son

Madasyn Czebiniak
Authorities say Owen Copney fell asleep with his 1-month-old son Isiah at this house in September. Isiah suffocated and eventually died.

A Vandergrift man admitted he fell asleep with his infant son, who suffocated and died, according to police.

Owen Labrenn Copney, 26, said he had been warned about falling asleep with his 1-month-old son, Isiah, on his chest.

He faces a pair of felonies in connection with his son’s death.

Copney is free awaiting his preliminary hearing on $25,000 unsecured bond.

His attorney, Samir Sarna, declined to comment.

The incident happened Sept. 17 in a house along Columbia Avenue in Vandergrift.

Detectives with the Westmoreland County District Attorney’s Office said Copney admitted that he fell asleep with Isiah lying face down on his chest. When he woke up, Isiah was face down in the crook of his arm and wasn’t breathing, according to a criminal complaint.

Isiah was treated by paramedics at the scene, then taken to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, where he died Sept. 19.

The Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office said Isiah died of Sudden Unexplained Infant Death. The Medical Examiner’s Office said Isiah lived in Leechburg.

The infant’s mother told detectives Copney had fallen asleep with Isiah on him before, and she had numerous talks with him about it, according to a criminal complaint. She said Copney had been made aware of the danger of falling asleep with Isiah on his chest, and she made it clear that she didn’t want him doing it.

She told detectives she would tell Copney stories about babies dying in an attempt to scare him so he wouldn’t do it again. Each time she had this discussion, she said, Copney told her he understood and wouldn’t do it again, the complaint said.

Investigators say Copney also told detectives that Isiah’s mother had warned him in the past not to sleep with Isiah on his chest.

The infant’s mother said she left the child alone with Copney on Sept. 17 to go to a friend’s house.

She said when she returned to Copney’s house and saw Isiah, she knew he was dead. She told detectives she was hysterical and screamed at Copney.

“I should never have left him with you,” she told detectives she yelled at him.

Copney is charged with felony involuntary manslaughter and felony child endangerment.

Madasyn Czebiniak is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Madasyn at 724-226-4702, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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