Girlfriend ‘poisoned’ her boyfriend’s 18-month-old daughter after ‘feeding the child batteries, water beads and a screw’: Heartbroken mom posts tribute to her ‘ray of sunshine’

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Written By Maya Cantina
  • Iris Rita Alfera died on June 29 from acetone poisoning in New Castle, Pennsylvania
  • Aleisia Lynnae Owens, her father’s girlfriend, was arrested Thursday after police found she conducted online research on harmful substances for children
  • The baby had ingested button-shaped batteries and medal screws, which showed up in her diapers, weeks before her death

An 18-month-old child was poisoned to death after ingesting batteries and screws, and now the girlfriend of the baby’s father has been arrested on homicide charges. 

Aleisia Lynnae Owens, 20, was charged with three counts of homicide, five counts of aggravated assault and one count of endangering the welfare of children in connection to Iris Rita Alfera’s death in Pennsylvania. 

Iris was taken to the hospital on June 25 and was held in the PICU until she died on June 29.

During an investigation, New Castle police found Owens conducted extensive online research on harmful substances for children and it was later revealed the toddler died from acetone poisoning. 

‘Tell the world that monsters do exist,’ Crystal Joseph, a relative of Iris, said on behalf of baby’s grieving family.

Iris Rita Alfera died on June 29 after she ingested acetone that ran into her bloodstream, which lead to organ failure. The girlfriend of the 18-month-old’s father is charged with homicide for the child’s death

The baby's autopsy revealed she had traces of acetone in her blood at the time of her death, which led to organ failure, according to authorities. Iris is pictured with her biological mother

The baby’s autopsy revealed she had traces of acetone in her blood at the time of her death, which led to organ failure, according to authorities. Iris is pictured with her biological mother

Aleidia Lynnae Owens, 20, was arrested Thursday for poisoning baby Iris in June, police said

Aleidia Lynnae Owens, 20, was arrested Thursday for poisoning baby Iris in June, police said

The baby’s autopsy revealed she had traces of acetone in her blood, which led to organ failure, according to authorities. Acetone is found in nail and varnish remover.

The New Castle Police Department also revealed that months before Iris’s tragic death, she had ingested numerous ‘water beads’ which were later found, expanded in her digestive system. Water beads are made of silicone and are circular decorations kept in a jar.

The baby also ingested button-shaped batteries and metal screws, which showed up in her diapers, authorities said. 

The items were all ingested between March 30 and April 1, according to WPIX, months before she died. 

Police found that Owens had searched Google several times between February and June asking questions about children drinking acetone, poisonous beauty products, water beads near me, what happens if a baby swallows a batter button and medications that shouldn’t be given to babies. 

Owens was arrested on Thursday and filmed walking with police while in handcuffs.  

The New Castle News reported as District Judge Richard A. Russo read Owens her charges, she sat ‘dry-eyed and expressionless.’

Owens was taken to Lawrence County Jail and is being held without bond. 

‘We’re happy that they’ve finally arrested her. That’s the first step. It will be a long process in the court system,’ the baby’s grandfather Frank Alfera told New Castle News. 

Police found that Owens had searched Google several times between February and June asking questions about children drinking acetone, poisonous beauty products, water beads near me, what happens if a baby swallows a batter button and medications that shouldn't be given to babies

Police found that Owens had searched Google several times between February and June asking questions about children drinking acetone, poisonous beauty products, water beads near me, what happens if a baby swallows a batter button and medications that shouldn’t be given to babies 

Iris is pictured with her mother Emily Alfera who has continued to post heart-wrenching tributes to her 'sweet ray of sunshine and smiles' since her death

Iris is pictured with her mother Emily Alfera who has continued to post heart-wrenching tributes to her ‘sweet ray of sunshine and smiles’ since her death

Iris lived with her mother and grandparents, while her father has visitation rights

Iris is seen being held by her father Bailey Jacoby who authorities said was not arrested in connection to the crime because 'at this time, there is no evidence at all, linking him or anyone else to the baby's death'

Iris is seen being held by her father Bailey Jacoby who authorities said was not arrested in connection to the crime because ‘at this time, there is no evidence at all, linking him or anyone else to the baby’s death’ 

The baby’s mother, Emily Alfera, has continued to post heart-wrenching tributes to her ‘sweet ray of sunshine and smiles’ since her death. 

Iris lived with her mother and grandparents while her father, Bailey Jacoby, has visitation rights. 

Alfera and Jacoby were together for approximately two years before they split. The father then lived with Owens for about a year before Iris was killed. 

‘I have no words for what has currently happened to my beautiful angel baby, never in my life I thought I would be saying goodbye to the biggest light in my life,’ Emily posted on her Facebook a day after Iris died. 

A separate Facebook page called Iris’ angels was also created to honor of the baby and serves as a nonprofit organization. 

Purple posters, sweatshirts, and bags have been made and plastered around Iris’s hometown as her mother has gone on to raise awareness for child abuse. 

A GoFundMe page was created when Iris was first taken to the hospital and has gone on to raise more than $17,000. 

A group of friends and family that have supported Iris's mother after her child tragically died are seen circled around a pair of baby shoes in her honor

A group of friends and family that have supported Iris’s mother after her child tragically died are seen circled around a pair of baby shoes in her honor

Owens was charged with three counts of homicide, five counts of aggravated assault and one count of endangering the welfare of children. She was taken to Lawrence County Jail and is being held without bond

Owens was charged with three counts of homicide, five counts of aggravated assault and one count of endangering the welfare of children. She was taken to Lawrence County Jail and is being held without bond 

Iris is pictured with her mother Emily who has created endless fundraisers for her child as she tries to raise awareness about visitation rights

Iris is pictured with her mother Emily who has created endless fundraisers for her child as she tries to raise awareness about visitation rights

Asia Madison Kerr, a friend of the mother, also posted a group tribute of family and friends as they honored the baby with white Nike sneakers with painted purple check marks and captioned it ‘Iris’s army.’ 

A small pair of baby sneakers with the same purple check mark were surrounded by a group of supporters, including Iris’s mother.  

Iris’s father has not posted publicly on Facebook about his girlfriend’s arrest or his daughter’s death. 

Police said that he was not arrested in connection to the heinous crime because ‘at this time, there is no evidence at all, linking him or anyone else to the baby’s death,’ New Castle Chief Bobby Salem said. 

‘There was nothing throughout the investigation to show that he had any knowledge or involvement about what happened to the baby. He was questioned multiple times and was cooperative.’ 

State Attorney General Michelle Henry who handled the case said: ‘It is hard to fathom someone taking deliberate steps to harm a completely helpless child, then mislead investigators about what happened.’ 

‘My office will never stop working to hold individuals accountable who knowingly put the lives of others, especially vulnerable children, at risk.’

Pennsylvania

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