Police search for mother, father after baby dies under ‘suspicious circumstances’ in Canonsburg

·2 min read

Two people are facing charges after a 3-month-old girl died under suspicious circumstances and her older brother was found with fentanyl and cocaine in his system.

Canonsburg police were called to a First Street home early Thursday morning for an unresponsive child. When they arrived, they found 31-year-old James May holding his 3-month-old child, who wasn’t breathing.

The criminal complaint states that the infant, identified as Navaeah, was transported to the hospital with her mother, 23- year-old Shannon McKnight, by her side.

A short time later, baby Navaeah was pronounced dead.

“They gone to the hospital, and we haven’t been able to locate them since,” said Washington County District Attorney Jason Walsh.

Walsh tells Channel 11 that Canonsburg police and county children and youth services case workers initially spoke to the parents at the hospital before they disappeared.

The couple’s other child, a 16-month-old boy, was taken to Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh, where cocaine and fentanyl were found in his system.

“I believe these parents have had a history with children and youth services,” said Walsh.

According to Walsh, both May and McKnight had a scheduled placement hearing on Friday for their son with children and youth services, but they didn’t show up.

Court paperwork states investigators found vomit in the parent’s bed where the baby was lying. They also found drug paraphernalia inside the home, including a glass crack pipe in addition to suspected fentanyl- and cocaine-stamped bags.

Channel 11 spoke to a woman who lives near the couple. She says James May set up this GoFundMe page for Navaeah to help with funeral expenses.

“It’s a shame that it’s come down to this. It really is. But I’d say for four or five years, there has been nothing but problems there,” she said. “For that to happen to a child, they should be in jail forever and never let out.”

Both May and McKnight are facing charges related to their son, including felony child endangerment and misdemeanor counts of reckless endangerment, drug possession and possession of drug paraphernalia.

There is currently a warrant out for their arrest.

Walsh says his office is waiting to learn the official cause and manner of death of the infant girl. He tells Channel 11 that will be determined through an autopsy and toxicology tests.

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