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Son of famed author Paul Auster charged in overdose death of infant daughter

Daniel Auster, 44, told authorities he had injected himself with heroin and fell asleep in the same bed as his 10-month-old daughter shortly before her death.

The adult son of the novelist Paul Auster was charged with manslaughter over the weekend in the overdose death of his infant daughter.

Ruby Auster, 10 months, died of acute intoxication from heroin and fentanyl in November while in the sole care of her father, Daniel Auster, according to a criminal complaint filed by the Kings County District Attorney's Office in New York. He was arraigned Sunday on charges of second-degree manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and endangering the welfare of a child.

Police were called to a townhouse, center, in Park Slope, Brooklyn, to help an unconscious infant in November 2021.
Daniel Auster called 911 to a residence, center, in Park Slope, Brooklyn, to aid an unconscious infant in November 2021.Google maps

Auster, 44, told authorities that he had injected himself with heroin after his wife left for work on the day of his daughter's death. He then laid in bed with Ruby to take a nap and saw she was "blue, lifeless, and unresponsive" when he woke up, according to the complaint.

He called 911 after administering Narcan, an opioid antagonist used to reverse overdose effects. Ruby was taken to New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

It does not state in the criminal complaint how Ruby may have ingested the drugs. A toxicology report ordered in her autopsy found the presence of heroin and fentanyl.

Auster's father is best known for works such as "City of Glass," "The Brooklyn Follies," and "4 3 2 1," according to The New York Times.

NBC News was unable to reach Auster's attorney, John Godfrey of the Legal Aid Society, by phone Monday. At the arraignment, Godfrey said his client had been recently sober, in a drug counseling program and turned himself in Friday, according to The Times.

"This case is painfully tragic, and Mr. Auster remains devastated over the loss of his beloved daughter Ruby," Godfrey said. "Substance use disorder is an issue that countless families reel from each year, and we caution the public to refrain from making any rush to judgment and to respect the family’s privacy at this difficult time."

A judge ordered that Auster be held on either a $100,000 cash bail or $250,000 bond. Court records indicated that neither had been posted by Monday morning.