David Anthony Castro charged with child neglect after infant daughter was found unresponsive among scattered drugs in South San Jose home
SAN JOSE, Calif. — According to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office, a man has been charged in the fentanyl overdose death of his infant daughter, who was discovered unresponsive at their South San Jose home earlier this year.
The death was first reported publicly by the Bay Area News Group in August, but authorities at the time would only confirm that an investigation was underway and refused to release any additional information.
The district attorney’s office announced the findings of the San Jose police investigation on Friday: David Anthony Castro, 38, was booked into Milpitas’ Elmwood men’s jail on a felony charge of child endangerment and a misdemeanor charge of illegally possessing a controlled substance on Thursday.
According to jail and court records, Castro was being held without bail and was due to be arraigned Monday in a San Jose courtroom.
Prosecutors state in a news release outlining the criminal case that on the morning of May 13, San Jose police were called to an apartment on Spinnaker Drive, near Oak Grove High School, where officers discovered 3-month-old Phoenix unconscious. She passed away after being taken to the hospital.
Fentanyl, broken glass pipes, and aluminum foil were “littered” in the kitchen near where Phoenix was discovered. According to authorities, a baby bottle was discovered on a counter next to glass pipes. Narcan, a fast-acting opioid antidote used to resuscitate people who have overdosed on the drug, was also discovered.
The infant died as a result of fentanyl and methamphetamine toxicity, according to an autopsy performed by the Santa Clara County Medical Examiner-Coroner’s Office.
“I can’t fathom how a parent could recklessly cause the death of their own child,” said District Attorney Jeff Rosen in a statement. “What I fully understand is our responsibility to hold that person accountable for this heartbreaking tragedy.”
The child’s mother, who was not at home when Phoenix was discovered, died of a drug overdose in September, adding to the family tragedy.
When this news organization first reported the infant’s fentanyl death, Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez, who has made a concerted effort to direct public funds to combat the South Bay’s fentanyl crisis, called the case “outrageous and inexcusable.” The county has been collaborating with nonprofit organizations and other organizations to distribute Narcan throughout the region.
Last year, fentanyl overdoses killed 6,095 people in California. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation earlier this month authored by San Jose-based State Sen. Dave Cortese that will require public and charter schools across the state to develop safety plans outlining how they will respond if one of their students suffers an opioid overdose on campus. The bill was inspired in part by a Bay Area News Group report last year that documented the staggering toll fentanyl was taking on young Californians and whether Bay Area schools were taking action.