University Heights Man Charged in Son's Death
(Photo by David Greene)
By David Greene
BRONX, NEW YORK, November 13- Detectives from the 46th Precinct have arrested a man, they say drowned, his own son and attempted to kill his daughter and himself after eating pizza laced with rat poison.
Police say Leonardo Espinal, 47, was taken from a local hospital to the 46th Precinct for questioning on November 8, in regards to the drowning death of his son Stewart, age 5, and the attempted murder of his daughter Mia, age 7.
A day earlier cops were called to the W. 179 Street home after Espinal reportedly locked himself and the children in a bathroom. The boy was found submerged in the bathtub and unresponsive. The girl was vomiting from the poison.
Both children were rushed to St. Barnabas Hospital where Stewart was pronounced dead on arrival and where Mia continues to recover.
The bizarre scene unfolded a week after the children's mother asked Espinal to leave the home after 10 years together.
As Espinal was brought out of the 46th Precinct on Ryer Avenue, a pair of reporters asked, "Why'd you do it?" Espinal just buried his chin in his jacket as detectives placed him in a car for a ride to central booking.
Espinal, who reportedly has a history of mental illness, was charged with murder and attempted murder and was ordered held without bail. Espinal is due back in court on November 14.
One resident of 86 W. 179 Street, where the children were discovered, recalled, "I heard the screaming, but I didn't know what was happening."