MOM, DAD BUSTED
UPPER DARBY COUPLE FACE CHARGES IN ACCIDENTAL OD DEATH OF DAUGHTER
Lauren Semanyk is led out of District Court in Secane after her arraignment for the overdose death of her 10-month-old daughter Angelina. Her boyfriend Joseph Milano (inset) also faces charges.
A township couple is accused of third-degree murder in the death of their 10-month-old daughter after she ingested fentanyl and they waited hours before calling 911 for help, officials said Thursday.
Upper Darby Police have arrested and charged Joseph Milano, 31, and Lauren Semanyk, 34, both of the 5000 block of Westley Drive in the Westbrook Park section of Upper Darby, with felony counts of third-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter and endangering the welfare of a child for the April 16 death of their baby daughter, Angelina Milano. Felony conspiracy charges have also been filed on the counts plus a misdemeanor charge of possession of drug paraphernalia.
At the time of arrest, Milano was serving time at the Delaware County Jail after pleading guilty to use/possession of drug paraphernalia and driving with a suspended license stemming from an Aug. 9 incident in the township. Semanyk surrendered to police at their headquarters.
Both have been remanded to the Delaware County Jail without bail following Semanyk’s arraignment Thursday morning by Magisterial Judge Kelly Micozzie-Aguirre and Milano’s Wednesday afternoon arraignment before Magisterial Judge Ann Berardocco.
In announcing their arrests at a Thursday morning press conference, Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood, Delaware County District Attorney Katayoun Copeland and Upper Darby Mayor Tom Micozzie called it a day of justice for Angelina.
“In a tight-knit neighborhood, the outpouring of love for the child at the time of the incident and then the suspicions that begin to carry, people wanted to know,” said Micozzie, who resides in the community where the death occurred. “I know the community was really looking for closure for Angelina.”
Chitwood, himself a great grandfather to an infant girl around Angelina’s age, said it is a tragic and sad case.
“It did not have to happen,” the top cop said.
A Sept. 18 autopsy report filed by Medical Examiner Dr. Bennett Preston ruled Angelina’s death as a homicide due to “synthetic fentanyl intoxication and complications thereof.” According to Copeland, the fentanyl analog 3-methylfentanyl was found in the child’s system. This strain of synthetic fentanyl is one of the strongest and lethal forms of the drug. Chitwood added that no drowning took place - as was initially reported to police by the suspects - because
water was not found in the baby’s lungs during the autopsy.
According to the affidavit of probable cause filed by Upper Darby Det. William Sminkey, police were called to their Westley Drive residence at 1:17 a.m. for a report of a 10-month-old baby in cardiac arrest. Officer William Sides was the first officer at the scene and witnessed Milano holding the baby in his arms on the sidewalk in front of their home and shouting that Angelina was not breathing. Milano said she had drowned in the bathtub during a bath.
Milano and Sides went into the home and began CPR in the living room.
“At this time, Sides noticed that Angelina had no pulse, was not breathing, and her skin was gray and pale,” reads the affidavit. The child was cold to the touch and her skin and diaper were dry.
Paramedics responded seconds later and rushed the baby to Delaware County Memorial Hospital for treatment.
Sides asked Semanyk if the baby had ingested heroin and she “looked surprised” and asked why. When Sides asked her again, her “head went down to her chest and she stated that it was possible.” This information was relayed to hospital staff and Narcan was administered at the emergency room.
Angelina was pronounced dead at 2:02 a.m.
Milano and Semanyk were interviewed at police headquarters that afternoon by Detectives Sminkey and Thomas Thompson. Milano said he observed the baby in her bedroom with a straw in her mouth that had an “offwhite powdery residue” on it, possibly heroin and OxyCodone. He then placed Angelina in the bathtub and then left the bathroom for three minutes. When he returned Angelina was one her back with water rolling over her face and her eyes were glazed. He attempted to wake her with cold water from the bath spigot to wake her up. Milano then called Semanyk and performed chest compressions and rescue breaths on Angelina until Semanyk arrived.
Semanyk said in an initial interview with police that day that she was working at ManorCare in Yeadon when Milano called her at 9 p.m. on April 15 asking her to return home. She observed Milano giving the baby CPR and then Semanyk continued and the baby eventually coughed up some water and she then seemed “fine.” They sat constantly with the baby after that. She said there was no water in the tub when she got home.
In a second interview that day with Capt. David Madonna and Det. Leo Henshaw she recalled being told by Milano told he didn’t know if the baby ingested water or something else. Semanyk did a finger sweep of the baby’s mouth which revealed nothing. Milano said Angelina may have ingested a crumpled up blue paper used to package heroin.
At around 11:45 p.m., Milano called 911 but then immediately hung up. When 911 called back, he advised the operator that everything was OK. An ambulance was then called by Milano at 1:17 a.m.
During Semanyk’s first interview police discovered that upon arrival to headquarters she was observed throwing a syringe out of her car into the traffic lanes of West Chester Pike. The syringe was collected as evidence. A consented search of her car that day uncovered an Altoid’s mint container containing a cut straw used to inhale narcotics.
After the medical examiner released his autopsy report in mid-September, Milano was interviewed on Sept. 26 by Detectives Sminkey and Thompson where it was revealed that he was watching TV with just an 8-year-old child and Angelina with him in the home. Angelina was upstairs playing and when he hadn’t heard her for a while he went to check on her. The affidavit says she was found in the bathroom looking groggy with a piece of blue paper in her mouth. He said he put a wet cloth over her forehead and ran cold water over her head from the bathtub faucet. There was no mention in this interview of leaving her in a bathtub as we walked out of the bathroom.
Milano then called Semanyk who returned home from work and she said the baby was fine. They then argued on taking Angelina to Delaware County Memorial or Lankenau hospitals for medical evaluation. This is when Milano called 911 the first time and allegedly hung-up when Semanyk said the baby was fine.
A decision was made around 1 a.m. to call police when Angelina had “taken a turn for the worst.”
Semanyk told detectives on Sept. 27 that when she came home from work on April 15 and she started performing CPR on the child who then began to open her eyes. She directed Milano to call 911 who then hung up.
Police received arrest warrants on Dec. 5 following a lengthy investigation in the case against Milano and Semanyk for failing to take the “necessary and reasonable steps to provide life-saving care to their daughter.”
“On April 16 of this year Joseph Milano and Lauren Semanyk failed to do what complete strangers do every single day across our commonwealth and in our county, and that’s save a life,” said Copeland. “As parents, as caregivers, as human beings, when they knew that their 10-monthold baby girl had ingested heroin, instead of taking her to an emergency room and seeking medical assistance they waited hours, over six, calling police and EMS only after the baby girl had died.
“It’s extremely disturbing and disheartening to have to prosecute parents for the death of their own infant. The life of that infant could have been saved if they had contacted authorities immediately.”
She added that it was at minimum six hours from the first moment Angelina ingested the control substance before her parents called for help after 1 a.m. on April 16.
“By that time, the baby had passed,” said Copeland.
Copeland said it took months to get the arrest as a result of waiting for the medical examiner and toxicology reports, but, also that it took time to sort through the statements from the individuals who “consistently provide stories that are completely inconsistent with one another and inconsistent with the truth.”
Chitwood said the couple is not cooperating with police.
Milano and Semanyk are due in court for a preliminary hearing before Magisterial Judge Kelly MicozzieAguirre on Dec. 13 at 8:30 a.m.
Upper Darby Superintendent Mike Chitwood announces the arrest of Joseph Milano and Lauren Semanyk for the overdose death of their 10-month-old daughter Angelina on April 16 after she ingested the drug in their home. With him are Delaware County District Attorney Katayoun M. Copeland, Upper Darby detectives Tom Thompson and William Sminkey as well as Mayor Thomas Micozzie, right.
Lauren Semanyk is led out of District Court in Secane after her arraignment for the overdose death of her daughter, 10-month-old Angelina on April 16, after the child ingested the drug in her home. Also charged was her partner Joseph Milano.
Upper Darby Superintendent Mike Chitwood announces the arrest of Joseph Milano and Lauren Semanyk for the overdose death of their 10-month-old daughter Angelina on April 16 after she ingested the drug in their home. With him are Delaware County District Attorney Katayoun M. Copeland, Upper Darby detectives Tom Thompson, not shown, and William Sminkey as well as Mayor Thomas Micozzie.
Upper Darby Mayor Thomas Micozzie speaks about the arrest of Joseph Milano and Lauren Semanyk for the overdose death of their 10-month-old daughter Angelina on April 16 after she ingested the drug in their home. With him are Delaware County District Attorney Katayoun M. Copeland, Upper Darby detectives Tom Thompson and William Sminkey and police Supt. Mike Chitwood.
Delaware County District Attorney Katayoun M. Copeland speaks about the arrest of Joseph Milano and Lauren Semanyk for the overdose death of their 10-month-old daughter Angelina on April 16 after she ingested the drug in their home.