OGDENSBURG — Neighbors of the Ogdensburg man charged with manslaughter in connection with his infant daughter’s death seemed like they were describing two different people.
A few say he may have been neglectful of his young son, suffers from mood swings and is into hard drugs. Others say he was a nice person and a good father.
Trevor J. Samarco, 34, of 423 Belmont Courts, is being held at the St. Lawrence County Correctional Facility in Canton on a second-degree manslaughter charge in lieu of $10,000 bail or $20,000 bond.
Court records show Samarco is accused of “recklessly” causing the death of his 11-month-old daughter Amelia by putting her into a bathtub and then going to sleep in another room before finding the infant unresponsive.
Citing the ongoing investigation, Ogdensburg Police Chief Mark T. Kearns declined to comment on whether Samarco put the infant in the tub at night, and then went to sleep, or if it happened in the morning on the day of her death.
St. Lawrence County Coroner Kevin J. Crosby said an autopsy was performed on the infant Thursday at Canton-Potsdam Hospital. He declined to say much about the results, citing the ongoing police investigation. He did say the manner of death is “technically accidental,” but an official ruling on the cause and manner of death is still pending.
“They really didn’t find anything they weren’t expecting,” Mr. Crosby said.
Jordan T. Remi, a Belmont Courts resident, said he knew Samarco and had spent time with him in the past.
“Our kids would play together at the park. We’d shoot hoops together,” Mr. Remi said. “He was a little weird, into drugs.”
When asked what kind of drugs, he replied, “speed, meth.”
Mr. Remi said sometime during the summer of 2021, Samarco’s young son escaped from Samarco’s residence and “was running around naked.”
“He was supposedly sleeping,” Mr. Remi said, adding that neighbors brought the child back to Samarco’s residence. He added that the son escaped the home more than once and was seen running around, “supposedly while (Samarco) was sleeping.”
Another Belmont Courts resident, Patricia A. Greenhow, said Samarco was “abusive, orally, verbally, yelling and swearing” to other children who lived in the apartment complex.
She said the kids would be in front of or near Samarco’s apartment and he’d he yell at them, “Get the f--- out of here!”
“He didn’t hang around with the best of people,” Ms. Greenhow said.
Two of Samarco’s neighbors, who asked not to be named and cited privacy concerns, described Samarco as a “nice kid, polite.”
“We never heard no fighting or nothing,” one of them said.
The other neighbor said they saw Samarco taking his son to a nearby basketball court. “(Samarco) was good to (his son),” the neighbor said.
Herbert P. Conto, who lives several doors down from Samarco, said he’d run into Samarco “a few times, here and there.”
“His mood changed every day,” Mr. Conto said. “Some days he just wasn’t on.”
Sarah A. Smith, who shares a home with Mr. Conto, said Child Protective Services was often seen at Samarco’s residence. She believes it was in connection with supervised visits for Samarco to see his son, rather than to investigate a complaint.
The St. Lawrence County Department of Social Services referred a reporter seeking comment to DSS Commissioner Joseph L. Seeber, who couldn’t be reached by press time.
Samarco’s Facebook profile shows a public post dated Oct. 19, 2019, that reads, “Missing my little man, how someone could keep there (sic) child from there (sic) father after I single handedly (sic) raised him for 3 years is beyond me. Family court in 7 days see you soon … Love you.”
The post is accompanied by a photo of a young boy who appears to be about 2 or 3 years old. The boy’s face in the foreground obscures the face of a man, who appears to be Samarco, behind him.
Samarco has been arrested three times in the last 17 years. In April 2005, he was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana, which is no longer illegal. In October 2021, he was arrested on two Ogdensburg City Court warrants for criminal tampering and harassment. In March, he was arrested on a St. Lawrence County Court bench warrant and taken to the county jail in Canton.
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.
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.