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Schuylkill County News

Schuylkill County Woman Charged with Murder in Death of Her Premature Baby

Autopsy revealed intrauterine fentanyl toxicity, court documents show.

A Schuylkill County woman is charged with third-degree murder – along with a host of other offenses – in connection with the death of her newborn premature baby in September.

According to court documents secured by The Canary on Wednesday, Ashley Ann Capiga, 34, of Pottsville, was charged by Pottsville Police with third-degree murder after an investigation revealed her premature baby died as a result of acute fentanyl toxicity.

An affidavit shows Capiga arrived at Lehigh Valley Hospital-East in Pottsville back on Sept. 25 due to complications with her pregnancy.

Detective Joseph Welsh reports in his arrest papers that Capiga gave birth to a premature baby that day, approximately 31 weeks into her pregnancy. The baby, who Capiga named Daved Murphy, was pronounced dead at the hospital by the treating physician that day, court papers show.

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According to Welsh’s affidavit, Capiga suffered a premature rupture of membranes at 26 weeks into her pregnancy was treated at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest. During that visit, Capiga’s toxicology screening apparently showed the presence of amphetamines, methamphetamines, and fentanyl.

A forensic autopsy was performed on Capiga’s baby on Sept. 28 at Dauphin County Coroner’s office by Dr. Wayne Ross, according to court papers. Welsh attended this exam, he states. The presumptive urine toxicology screening done as part of that exam reportedly came back positive for methamphetamine and was “borderline” for fentanyl.

More toxicology testing was conducted on chest blood, the liver, brain, and pulled hair of the deceased newborn. Samples were sent to National Medical Services, according to the arrest papers. Those tests reportedly showed the presence of methamphetamine and fentanyl.

Ross determined in his final report that the baby Murphy died as a result of “intrauterine fetal demise due to acute fentanyl toxicity.” He ruled the death a homicide.

Capiga was arraigned before District Magistrate James Reiley and in addition to the third-degree murder charge, she is also facing charges of involuntary manslaughter, endangering the welfare of a child, drug delivery resulting in death, and aggravated assault of an unborn child.

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Bail in this case has been denied.

Capiga is being held at Schuylkill County Prison. She’s currently scheduled to be due back in court for a Preliminary Hearing on Dec. 18.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Val

    November 30, 2023 at 10:10 am

    It is a terrifying story. Sadly,drugs are another big problem in Schuylkill County. The local press should publish these stories no matter how bad they sound for public awareness.
    There was another terrifying story back in 2021. A policeman found a 12 yo boy on a street in Minersville. It turned out the boy and his 2 siblings were locked in an attic, beaten and starved for long time. Of course the parents went to jail for years. The only thing I don’t get is HOW ON EARTH kids’ teachers, physicians missed these 3 kids conditions for quite a while? It’s hard to believe things like that are happening today.

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