Man tells judge he, wife never sought prenatal care for dead baby

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.

Chmielewski cut the baby's umbilical cord himself using house scissors, according to an affidavit. He did not clamp the cord before severing it. She was not taken to a doctor.

The girl weighed 5 pounds and 3 ounces at birth, according to the prosecutor's office. She was not taken to a doctor.

The girl later died at Hackensack University Medical Center, 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.

With the Associated Press