Man accused of suffocating infant son
A Saylorsburg man has been charged with suffocating his infant son after threatening to kill him and another child after he couldn’t find drugs that were hidden.
According to the affidavit of probable cause filed by Cpl. Christopher Tomlinson of the Pennsylvania State Police, Troop M Trevose:
At 11:28 a.m. May 6, 2018, the Monroe County Communication Center notified PSP-Fern Ridge Barracks that they were dispatching EMS to a home on Longwoods Drive, Chestnuthill Township, for a report of a 6-month-old who was not breathing.
The child was in a second-floor bedroom and was cold to the touch, appeared to have mottling on his face and flanks, and his stomach was distended. He also had a cut on his chin.
Paramedics attempted to revive him on the way to St. Luke’s Monroe Campus in Bartonsville. An emergency room doctor determined the child had been dead for several hours. He was pronounced dead at 12:27 p.m.
Cause of death
Monroe County coroner Thomas Yanac interviewed the victim’s mother, Samantha DeFrancesca, 24, of Saylorsburg, who said she last saw the victim alive at 7:30 p.m. May 5, when she gave him a bath and fed him.
DeFrancesca said she was not feeling well and went to bed soon after putting the baby to bed. She woke up the next morning when she heard the baby cry. She said the baby’s father, Christian Tuliszewski, 24, of Saylorsburg, went to give the baby a bottle of milk. DeFrancesca claimed that she slept until later in the morning, and when she did wake up, she noticed he was not responding to her, and appeared blue. She called 911.
An autopsy performed on May 7 showed evidence of blunt-force trauma consisting of faint bruising to the left side of the baby’s face, the abrasion on the chin, and the laceration on the inside of the lower lip, as well as mild brain edema.
From photographs taken of the victim’s mouth at the hospital, the forensic pathologist noted hemorrhagic injuries consistent with pressure against the victim’s mouth causing the “erupting teeth” to lacerate the mouth, and concluded that the victim was alive until the morning of May 6. He said in the days before the victim’s death his living environment had become increasingly dangerous in the context of parental drug abuse and documented threats of physical violence against the child.
Yanac issued a final death certificate indicating the manner of the baby’s death as a homicide, with the cause as probable asphyxiation.
Tomlinson interviewed Christian Tuliszewski Sr., grandfather of the victim and father of Chris Tuliszewski Jr., who said he woke up the morning of May 6 to use the bathroom. He said he heard DeFrancesca’s iPhone alarm going off from upstairs, and also heard the victim crying.
Tuliszewski Jr. said that his father yelled upstairs, and DeFrancesca did not attend to the child. Tuliszewski Jr. said he went into the bathroom, where he snorted two bags of heroin.
Tuliszewski Jr. claimed that he was in the bathroom for about 15 minutes and never heard the victim crying, so he went back to the couch to sleep and never actually checked the victim.
When told that DeFrancesca already told the police that he had gotten up to attend to the victim, Tuliszewski Jr. replied that “She probably thought I got up to check on him.”
In addition to admitting that he used heroin the morning of the victim’s death, Tuliszewski Jr. also said that he and DeFrancesca smoked marijuana the evening before and also used heroin the day before.
During the interviews, Tuliszewski was asked what he believed killed the victim, and he said that he was sure that the victim suffocated from his blanket getting into his mouth.
On May 6, a search warrant was executed at the residence, and empty wax baggies consistent with heroin packaging were located in a small garbage can in the bedroom where the victim sleeps, as well as on a dresser near the bassinet. Wax baggies with suspected heroin were located in the bathroom used by DeFrancesca, Tuliszewski Jr., their other child and also where the victim was bathed. Glass smoking devices consistent with those used for smoking marijuana and methamphetamine were also located.
DeFrancesca admitted that both she and Tuliszewski Jr. were using heroin and marijuana the night before the baby’s death, and admitted that immediately before discovering the victim dead she went into the bathroom, snorted heroin and went outside to smoke meth before checking on the victim. DeFrancesca said that Tuliszewski Jr. handed her the meth pipe.
On May 6, cellphones were taken from DeFrancesca and Tuliszewski Jr. which showed that both sent messages to each other during the course of the police investigation into the death telling each other not to tell the police about their drug use. Both agreed to mislead police when asked about the other’s use of drugs.
A review of the texts disclosed that the pair were arguing in the early morning hours of May 6 over Tuliszewski Jr. allegedly taking money from DeFrancesca’s account, without her permission, to buy methamphetamine. During that exchange, DeFrancesca was told by Tuliszewski Jr. that he had also bought “bud” and that it was under the mat. She then indicated that she needed to roll one right away.
During the latter part of April and into early May, Tuliszewski Jr’s. texts to DeFrancesca became threatening toward the children, including threats that the kids would starve, and that he would not feed either of the children.
On April 30 more text message exchanges were made, and on May 1, Tuliszewski Jr. said he was upset that he could not find where he had hidden drugs, and texted various threats about hurting their other child.
Tuliszewski faces charges of criminal homicide; endangering the welfare of children; the controlled substance, drug device and cosmetic act: prohibited acts, penalties; tampering with or fabricating physical evidence; criminal conspiracy/hindering apprehension or prosecution; and possession of a controlled substance.
His bail has been denied, and his hearing, which was originally set for Friday, will be continued, with no new date as of yet.
DeFrancesca faces charges of murder; endangering the welfare of children; the controlled substance, drug device and cosmetic act: prohibited acts, penalties; criminal conspiracy/hindering apprehension or prosecution; and possession of a controlled substance.
She is currently incarcerated in the Monroe County Correctional Facility in lieu of $100,000 monetary bail, and is scheduled to have a preliminary hearing on June 4 before District Judge Colleen Mancuso of Brodheadsville.