QUINCY, Mass. (AP) — A couple accused of killing their 5-month-old daughter by giving her a bottle of formula with heroin in it were charged with manslaughter on Friday.
Ryan Barry and Ashley Cyr, both of Quincy, just south of Boston, were arrested Friday. They pleaded not guilty and were ordered held on $200,000 cash bail.
The couple’s daughter Mya Barry died in September 2011, when the family lived in Marshfield, a half-hour drive southeast of Quincy.
Police responded to a 911 call and found the baby on the living room floor with her grandmother performing CPR on her, Plymouth County District Attorney Tim Cruz’s office said. The baby was pronounced dead at a hospital a short time later.
Police said they found 3 grams of heroin and hypodermic needles on a shelf in a bedroom shared by Barry, Cyr, the baby and her two sisters, ages 3 and 4.
Prosecutor Frank Middleton said Barry told police that Cyr was reckless in her drug use and that he had seen her snort heroin off a Dr. Seuss book and then leave the book on the floor where the kids could get at it.
Middleton said in court that Barry told police he had made the baby’s last bottle by mixing 2 ounces of formula with 2 ounces of water. He said that when Barry was pressed on how the heroin could have gotten into the bottle he said maybe someone had cleaned a dirty syringe in the water bottle he used to make the formula.
Testing determined that the baby formula in the bottle contained heroin. An autopsy determined that the baby died from opiate poisoning.
A grand jury returned manslaughter indictments against Barry, 30, and Cyr, 26, on Thursday. Cyr also was charged with one count of reckless endangerment of a child.
Barry’s lawyer, Liam Scully, said that it was unclear who put the heroin in the baby’s bottle and that Barry denies any wrongdoing.
“He was devastated by the death of his daughter and is coping with that tragedy the best that he can,” Scully said.
Cyr’s lawyer didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment Friday.
Barry and Cyr are due back in court Nov. 8 for a pretrial conference.