LAWRENCE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A father and his 2-year-old daughter are fighting for their lives after being found in respiratory distress inside their car.
However, police say the heartbreak in this disturbing case may be that the father intentionally poisoned them both, reports CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan.
Ammonium chloride, toxic powder used in fire extinguishers, was sprinkled into a kind of baby bottle and ingested by the innocent 2-year-old girl, who is now in critical but stable condition at Children’s Hospital of North Shore-LIJ.
Her 45-year-old father, a Metropolitan Transportation Authority mechanic, also swallowed the white salty mixture along with naphthyl methyl carbamate, which is commonly found in pesticides. Police are investigating the disturbing case as a possible attempted murder-suicide.
1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria on the developments
But witnesses said the Queens father may have suddenly changed his mind and cried out for help as he and his daughter were slipping into unconsciousness inside their Toyota, which was parked behind a group of Central Avenue shops in Lawrence. Hashi Gluck discovered them.
Gluck said the man honked the car’s horn, rolled down the window and said “I need help. Please help me.” Gluck added he had no idea how serious the situation was, adding it looked like the man was “having a seizure.”
Within minutes, police, ambulances and Hazmat units descended on the crime scene. Merchants watched in horror.
“I saw them pull the guy out. He was unconscious. I saw the little girl,” witness Germaine Giordano said.
Security video was seized by investigators hoping to discover clues.
The father, who may have poisoned his toddler daughter and tried to take his own life, is in extremely critical condition at nearby St. John’s Hospital.
Police said he is separated from his wife, who lives Brooklyn. They shared custody of their child.
“These individuals are separated and live apart. There may be a great deal of acrimony, friction between both parties,” Nassau County Police Detective Lt. Kevin Smith said.
Residents in the community said they feel heartbroken for the child.
“Sad society we live in,” one man said. “It’s very upsetting, very scary.”
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The baby’s mother is at her daughter’s hospital bedside. Police said charges are pending against the father. The investigation is ongoing.
Police impounded the father’s vehicle and said the white powdery toxic substances were also found on the child’s infant car seat.
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