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Woman charged in death of 10-month-old daughter

Andrea Dale

DAUPHIN COUNTY — A 19-year-old woman facing charges in connection with the death of her 10-month-old daughter turned herself in at the Dauphin County Judicial Center Monday.

Andrea Dale, of Chester County, is charged with criminal homicide and endangering the welfare of children after the infant died five days after being found unresponsive at a residence in Lower Paxton on March 1.

A Lower Paxton Township detective requested that an arrest warrant be issued for Dale based on circumstances that included the condition in which the child’s body was discovered, conflicting stories from the defendant, witness statements and video surveillance, the affidavit states.

Police were called to the residence in the 4700 block of Queen Avenue around 9 a.m. on March 1 for a report of an unresponsive infant, according to charging documents. Upon arrival, officers found the child on the floor of the apartment hallway, wet and naked, with an individual performing CPR on her. Dale’s daughter was then transported to Hershey Medical Center by emergency personnel.

The residents, two sisters, of the apartment advised that Dale, her boyfriend and two children — a 10-month-old and 2-year-old — were staying with them until they could acquire a residence of their own.

As officers walked through the apartment, they observed a bathtub — in the lone bathroom — that appeared to have several inches of standing water in it, charging documents add. Two pieces of, what appeared to be, fecal matter were seen floating in the tub as well.

Police then spoke with the residents separately about what occurred in the apartment. The sisters both told police that that were sleeping in separate bedrooms when they were woken up by Dale’s scream and her boyfriend carrying the unconscious child into one of the sisters’ room, the affidavit says. The residents added that Dale’s boyfriend then performed CPR on the infant and they observed the other child to be in the bathtub while this situation took place.

Later in the evening, Dale was interviewed by police, participating in a video/audio recorded walk-thru reenactment of the events that occurred leading up to the 10-month-old being taken to the hospital.

Dale told police that she had fed and bathed both children before putting them in a fenced in play area in the living room as she went to get clothing for them, according to the affidavit. Dale then said that she discovered the younger child unconscious on the floor after her older daughter climbed over the fencing.

Also in the reenactment, Dale claimed that the water in the tub was lower when she had bathed the children and the fecal matter was not there. The detective advised that everything in the tub was in the same state as it had been when first responding officers arrived.

Police also spoke with Dale’s boyfriend, who confirmed to police that the two children were, in fact, bathed but there was no fenced in play area in the apartment. Her boyfriend said that he found the child unconscious floating on her side in the tub after he returned from outside of the apartment, also noting that Dale was in her bedroom on her phone. He added that he had last been in the apartment and in the bathroom while Dale was bathing the children about 15 minutes prior, charging documents state.

On March 20, Dale spoke with law enforcement again and police say she changed her story regarding the incident. Dale told police that she woke up, walked to a Sunoco gas station to get potato chips and returned to the house to speak with one of the residents. That’s when she claimed her boyfriend entered the room with her unconscious daughter.

When asked by police why she changed her original story, Dale allegedly said that she was frightened of being blamed for what happened to her daughter.

The detective noted in the affidavit that surveillance video from the gas station was reviewed and Dale did not appear in the video. Police also asked the resident whom Dale allegedly had spoke with and she claimed that the specific conversation happened a day or so prior to the incident with the child.