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Toddler dies after being left alone, parents charged

James Kasisky, 26, and Valentina Varela-Luis, 25, were arraigned in Nanticoke Monday afternoon.

LUZERNE COUNTY, Pa. — A mother and father are locked up in Luzerne County after their 19-month-old daughter died after being left alone for more than a day.

According to court papers, the mother and father of this toddler both told police they thought the other was taking care of the child, but no one checked in on her for more than 24 hours.

James Kasisky, 26, and Valentina Varela-Luis, 25, were arraigned in Nanticoke Monday afternoon.

Troopers say that in December, the pair never checked on their 19-month-old daughter in Newport Township for more than 24 hours.

Court papers show she had been left in a warm room and had no food or water.

Varela-Luis blamed her daughter's father for their child's death, and Kasisky had no words for reporters as both were arraigned on manslaughter and endangerment charges after their 19-month-old daughter was found dead in her room on December 23, 2022.

"On the eve of Christmas Eve, very bitter cold night, the investigation revealed that this baby was left unattended for a period greater than 24 hours," said Luzerne County Assistant District Attorney Shana Messinger.

Court papers say police responded to a home in Glen Lyon near Nanticoke after Varela-Luis called 911 when she found her daughter not breathing in her bedroom.

First responders found that the child showed signs that she had been dead for an extended period of time.

"Through our extensive investigation, which involves both forensic and medical teams, we proceeded with charges, and with that, we're ready to proceed with the prosecution," Messinger said.

After interviewing Varela-Luis and Kasisky, state police determined both parents claimed they thought the other would check on the child after she was put to bed at 5 p.m. on the evening of December 22. But no one did until finding her dead at 7 p.m. the next day.

The autopsy showed there were no signs of food in the toddler's system.

"This case is horrific. It's nightmarish in itself for any parent with children. I think the message is, you got to watch your children every step of the way."

Varela-Luis and Kasisky face involuntary manslaughter and endangerment charges.

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