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NJ dad pleads guilty in death of 3-day-old daughter whose blood tested positive for heroin, cocaine

Posted: 3:26 PM, Oct 03, 2019
Updated: 2019-10-03 15:29:28-04

WALLINGTON, N.J. — A New Jersey father whose infant daughter died three days after a home birth last year has pleaded guilty to manslaughter and child endangerment charges.

Joseph Chmielewski told a judge Wednesday that he and his wife abused heroin during the pregnancy and never sought prenatal care. The 41-year-old Wallington man now faces a four-year prison term, but it’s not clear if he’ll testify against his wife should she go to trial.

Authorities responded to the couple’s apartment in February 2018 after a 911 caller reported an unresponsive infant in distress. The girl later died at a hospital, but a cause of death has not been disclosed.

Chmielewski’s lawyer said in court that the infant’s blood tested positive for heroin and cocaine.