Father charged after infant son suffocates while sleeping on him

The child's mother told police she had warned the man that falling asleep with the baby on him was dangerous.

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By Minyvonne Burke

A Pennsylvania father who said he fell asleep with his month-old son on his chest is facing charges after the infant suffocated and died.

Owen Labrenn Copney, 26, told police that on Sept. 17 he dozed off with his son on his chest and when he woke up, he noticed that the baby "had shifted from his chest and was now laying face down in the crook of his armpit," according to a criminal complaint by detectives in Westmoreland County, near Pittsburgh.

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Copney told detectives that the child, Isaiah, was sweaty and not breathing, the complaint states.

The baby was treated by paramedics at the scene and then taken to the hospital where he died two days later, on Sept. 19. A medical examiner said the cause of death was sudden unexplained infant death.

The baby's mother, Kayla Ball, told detectives she had been nervous about her son being alone with Copney because she had repeatedly warned him that falling asleep with the baby on him was dangerous.

Ball told detectives that in one incident while Isaiah was sleeping on Copney's chest, the father knocked the baby off of him, according to the complaint.

Ball said Copney had seemed to be having a nightmare, and that luckily the baby fell on the bed between them and was not hurt. She said that another time when Copney fell asleep with their son, she had to wake him up because she noticed he had his arm partially covering the infant's face.

Copney told police that Ball had repeatedly told him that it was dangerous to let the baby fall asleep on him, according to the complaint.

Copney was charged Wednesday with felony involuntary manslaughter and felony child endangerment. An attorney for Copney could not immediately be reached.