OGDENSBURG — Court records show that the Ogdensburg father accused of being responsible for the death of his 11-month-old daughter put her in a bathtub and then went to sleep in another room before finding the baby unresponsive.
On Wednesday, Ogdensburg police charged Trevor J. Samarco, 34, of 423 Belmont Courts, with second-degree manslaughter, a Class C felony, stemming from an investigation into a report at 11:31 a.m. of an unresponsive 11-month-old baby at his residence.
Lifesaving measures were performed upon the arrival of city police, firefighters and the Ogdensburg Volunteer Rescue Squad, but the baby was pronounced dead at Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center a short time later.
Samarco allegedly “recklessly” caused the death of his daughter Amelia by leaving her unattended in the bathtub, according to the felony complaint filed by Detective Jarret B. LeClair.
According to the New York State Council on Children and Families, there were 469 reported cases of child abuse and neglect in St. Lawrence County in 2020, the last year for which data is available. That is a rate of 21.7 per 1,000 children, which is 1.5 times the state average rate of 14.6.
Child deaths in New York that allegedly resulted from abuse or maltreatment are reported to the state Office of Children and Family Services. The deaths are investigated by the local department of social services, and by law, certain reports are investigated in coordination with law enforcement. OCFS is required to conduct a review of fatality investigations and issue a report within six months of the investigation.
OCFS has issued two recent reports on infant fatalities involving sleeping parents in St. Lawrence County, though at the time of the reports no criminal responsibility was indicated.
A report issued in December describes the death of a 2-month-old boy in July last year. The mother positioned the boy and his sibling in bed separated by a pregnancy pillow and then went to sleep, according to the report. The mother awoke and found the boy unresponsive and in a different position. The boy was pronounced dead at the hospital shortly after, the report says.
A November report on the death of a 1-month-old in St. Lawrence County also involved a sleeping parent. The report says that in June last year the father placed the baby boy on his back in a pack and play and went to another room and fell asleep. The father awoke at 5 a.m. and found the child unresponsive and face down, according to the report.
Inside the crib was a thin mattress pad folded over three times and tucked in with a blanket to create a softer base. The father awoke at 5 a.m. and found the child unresponsive in the crib. The report notes law enforcement believes the child “had wiggled to the side of the portable crib and flipped over, becoming wedged between the memory foam and edge of the portable crib.”
While in Ogdensburg City Court Wednesday prior to the arrival of St. Lawrence County Public Defender James M. McGahan, Samarco addressed Judge Marcia L. LeMay, who told him not to say anything to her and that police could use anything he said against him.
“How I get second-degree manslaughter is beyond me,” Samarco said. “Your honor, I feel like it’s a ploy to make me look like a bad guy.”
As he was being brought into Ogdensburg City Hall — City Court is on the second floor — Samarco said that city police were corrupt and “making me look bad by charging me with second-degree manslaughter.”
He added that he asked police to take him in for a mental health evaluation and “they put me in shackles.”
“My daughter loved me more than anything in the world,” he told Judge LeMay.
Samarco was arraigned Wednesday evening and remanded to the St. Lawrence County Correctional Facility in Canton in lieu of $10,000 cash and $20,000 bond. He pleaded not guilty.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 1 p.m. Monday in City Court. Judge LeMay issued an order of protection for the deceased child’s mother.
St. Lawrence County Coroner Kevin J. Crosby said an autopsy was scheduled for Thursday afternoon at Canton-Potsdam Hospital.