10-month-old smothered with pink toy piglet — (The Jersey Journal)

SSRI Ed note: Young woman given Zoloft for postpartum depression smothers baby with toy then stabs herself to death.

Original article no longer available

The Jersey Journal

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

By Ronald Leir, Journal staff writer

A Bayonne woman smothered her 10-month-old baby girl with a stuffed animal as she lay in her crib yesterday and then killed herself in their uptown apartment, law enforcement officials said.

Officials said the woman’s husband discovered the bodies when he arrived home from working the night shift at an out-of-town job and immediately called for help.

But at that point, nothing could be done to save either his wife or the child, officials said.

Hudson County Prosecutor Edward DeFazio said investigators determined that the woman, Emiri Padron, 24, stabbed herself twice, plunging a carving knife with an 8-inch blade into her chest after smothering her daughter with a foot-long stuffed toy animal, a pink piglet, as the baby lay in her crib.

Police say the baby’s name was Hannah Victoria Padron, while the girl’s uncle said it was Lana Grace Padron.

No note was found in the couple’s first-floor apartment at Boulevard Gardens, on Kennedy Boulevard between 49th and 50th streets, but DeFazio said that investigators were awaiting the results of a computer forensics analysis to check for possible electronic messages.

DeFazio said there was no indication the child had been beaten or otherwise physically harmed prior to the smothering.

He said investigators found an empty bottle of the prescription medication Zoloft, an antidepressant, in the apartment and also recovered one Zoloft pill from the living room floor.

DeFazio said Eduardo Padron, 25, told investigators that his wife had been under the care of a psychiatrist in New York.

DeFazio said toxicological tests on Emiri Padron are being done to determine how many of the pills, if any, she might have taken before her death.

“We can’t estimate time of death until after the autopsy is completed,” DeFazio said. He also noted the official cause of death for the mother and child won’t be known until the autopsy by the state Regional Medical Examiner’s Office is completed.

Even hardened law enforcement veterans were shaken by the tragedy that awaited them in the Kennedy Boulevard apartment, DeFazio said.

“One of my investigators told me that the baby looked like a beautiful doll,” he said. “I think it takes a little bit out of everybody.

“An act of this kind is difficult to fathom when a biological parent kills a young child. We can only imagine she was not in her right mind.”

Bayonne Police Director Mark Smith said: “It’s a tragedy for the entire family. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the father.”

DeFazio said that Bayonne police were sent to the three-story, six-family building – one of a cluster of multifamily buildings that comprise the neat, landscaped rental complex – at 1:20 a.m. after receiving a 911 call from Eduardo Padron, who had just arrived home from his security job in Woodbridge.

At the time he made the call, Padron did not yet realize that his daughter was also dead, DeFazio said.

When Bayonne police arrived several minutes later, DeFazio said they found the lifeless body of Emiri Padron upright in a chair in the couple’s bedroom, with the carving knife, smeared in blood, lying nearby on the floor.

The baby was in a crib in the bedroom, her face covered by the stuffed animal, DeFazio said.

An official pronouncement of death for the mother and baby was made at 3:30 a.m. by Dr. Junaid Shaikh, an assistant medical examiner from the state regional office in Newark.

After talking briefly with police, a distraught Eduardo Padron was taken to Bayonne Medical Center for observation and was later released.

DeFazio said Padron is staying with relatives for now.

“We’re still numb, we’re in shock,” said a family member, who asked that his name not be used.

“It’s a shock to all of us. We don’t know why she did this and (Eduardo) doesn’t know why, either. We’re dumbfounded. There’s no rhyme or reason for it.”

The family member said that Emiri, who was born and raised in Japan but was educated in the United States, met Eduardo at a Christian retreat in Colorado about two years ago and they were soon married.

One Boulevard Gardens tenant who knew the couple said that Eduardo was “a nice, quiet boy.”

She said she rarely saw Emiri because she always stayed in the house.

“They had a beautiful baby,” she said.

Two employees of the Kennedy Boulevard development said the couple moved into the complex in November.

“They were very nice people,” one worker said. “They looked like they had no problems. Always smiling, especially the husband. Not a care in the world. They liked living here. They said it was always nice and quiet.”