Man charged in baby’s death — (The Clinton Herald)

SSRI Ed note: Father on Zoloft drinks, falls asleep on week old baby, smothering her.

Original article no longer available

The Clinton Herald

By Charlene Bielema, Herald Editor

CLINTON ­ A Delmar man has been charged in connection with the death of his week-old daughter.

Dana C. Clark, 36, was arrested Wednesday and charged with child endangerment resulting in death, a Class B felony that carries a possible 25-year prison term.

According to Clinton County authorities, Clark’s daughter, Delilah A. Clark, was found not breathing and unresponsive at her home at 2157 Iowa 136, Delmar, on Nov. 30. She was pronounced dead by the Clinton-Jackson county medical examiner.

According to court documents, authorities were called to the home at 5:44 a.m. Nov. 30. An autopsy, conducted by Dr. Dennis Klein, assistant state medical examiner, determined the child died as a result of asphyxia due to overlay. He ruled that although the death was accidental in nature, prosecution could happen if a caregiver’s actions created a substantial risk to an infant.

In this case, authorities said their investigation showed Dana Clark fed the baby a bottle between midnight and 1 a.m., and that he sat down on a couch at the residence and put his feet up. At some point he and the baby fell asleep on the leather couch. The baby’s mother, Tonya, discovered Dana on top of the baby on the couch and called 9-1-1.

When investigators arrived at the scene, they discovered that Dana Clark smelled of alcohol, the affidavit states. At 7:30 a.m., the deputies asked Dana Clark if he would voluntarily provide a preliminary alcohol breath test.

They said Clark consented and alcohol was detected. Around 9:20 a.m., a urine test indicated that alcohol was in his system as was sertraline, an antidepressant. Clark was not prescribed any medications at the time, the documents state.

Based on formulas used to determine how alcohol is metabolized by the body, an Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation criminalist determined Dana Clark’s blood alcohol content was anywhere from .162 to .202 at the time he fell asleep with the baby.

The medication in his system was not to be taken with alcohol because drowsiness could occur.

Clark was arraigned Thursday and is being held in the Clinton County Jail. Bail has been set at $25,000.