WESTMORELAND COUNTY, Pa. (KDKA) — Parents in Westmoreland County are facing charges after apparently neglecting to get proper medical care for their newborn daughter, but they are refuting those charges.
Thirty-eight-year-old Robert Joseph Aquilina and 37-year-old Tiffany Marie Aquilina, both of West Newton, are facing charges of endangering the welfare of children and recklessly endangering another person.
According to a criminal complaint, Tiffany took her 7-day-old daughter to a pediatrician for an exam on Friday. The doctor found the child was underweight and her temperature was low for a newborn. The child also allegedly smelled like marijuana and the criminal complaint says Tiffany’s toxicology screen tested positive for heroin and marijuana.
Tiffany was told by her pediatrician that she and her husband, Robert, needed to take the child to a hospital and was advised that the child “may not make it through the night.” Tiffany allegedly asked how long the child would be at the hospital, then said she needed to go home to get clothes.
Staff at the pediatrician’s office later called Children’s Hospital and learned neither Tiffany nor Robert had taken their daughter to the hospital.
The Aquilinas refute that account, saying they were not told their child was in danger.
“That’s very unjust, I would never endanger my child,” Robert told KDKA’s KDKA’s Bob Allen.
“If she had told me that my child was in any danger of their life being … you know what I mean? I would have rushed her to the hospital as soon as possible,” Tiffany told KDKA.
Robert said the pediatrician’s recommendation was to go to the hospital and get the baby warmer.
“We were going to go to our bedroom and get her warmer,” Robert said. “We can do that ourself.”
The staff then contacted Child and Youth Services, which tried to contact Tiffany several times. Tiffany eventually responded and allegedly said she and her husband were taking the child to Ohio and threatened to sue CYS if it called again.
West Newton Police were contacted and a “be-on-the-look-out” was issued for the child. The child was entered into the National Crime Information Center as a missing endangered person.
The couple threatened to sue CYS and are accusing a police officer of falsifying his report.
Charges against Tiffany and Robert were filed Friday. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Feb. 25.