Police burst into the apartment around 1:30 a.m. after frantic 911 calls from Leonardo Espinal’s stepmother and estranged wife Rosaura Abreu, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Espinal, 47, was babysitting the couple’s children and had called Abreu, threatening to kill himself, according to the Daily News. Abreu called Espinal’s stepmother, because he was staying with her following the recent disintegration of his marriage, NBC New York reported.
The stepmother found Mia Espinal vomiting from the slice of pizza allegedly laced with rat poison and feared what was happening inside the locked bathroom where her stepson was holed up with 5-year-old Stewart Espinal. Police say they found Espinal, fully dressed, on top of his naked son’s body submerged in a bathtub full of water, the New York Post said.
Mia survived, but Stewart was pronounced dead in Saint Barnabas Hospital.
The impact of the incident pushed Abreu into an apparent state of shock, said her boss at the restaurant where she works.
”She looked confused.” Dario Caba, owner of La Estrella restaurant, told the New York Post. “She told me that her husband had taken her son away. She was talking, but she wasn’t in the right state of mind. She wasn’t even crying. She was pale like she was in shock.”
Espinal told police that he’d also swallowed rat poison. He remained hospitalized yesterday, along with his daughter, who was in critical condition, according to reports. Charges are pending, police said.