Mary Eileen Diehl, East Fairfield Township, Pennsylvania mother poisons adopted handicapped son, 11, according to prosecutors. No known motive.
A Pennsylvania woman has been accused of fatally poisoning her eleven year old adopted handicapped son over Labor Day weekend.
Police allege Mary Eileen Diehl, 62, killed Najir William Diehl, 11, by poison at their home at 7621 Mallard Road in East Fairfield Township.
According to prosecutors, Mary Diehl reportedly called 911 at approximately 10:17 a.m. on Sept. 6 and allegedly said that she found her adopted son deceased in his bed. The boy’s disability reportedly prevented him from walking on his own. Responding officers pronounced Najir dead at the scene the Meadville Tribune reported.
Pennsylvania State Police Lt. Mark Weindorf said that authorities initially believed that that Najir, who had extensive health problems, died from natural causes pending toxicology tests, Erie Times-News reported.
The case had been under investigation for the past several months, Paula DiGiacomo, first assistant district attorney for Crawford County, said Tuesday.
New evidence uncovered
Following several months of investigating Najir’s death, police and prosecutors said they had uncovered evidence showing that Mary Diehl intentionally poisoned her adopted son, DiGiacomo, reportedly told the Tribune.
Diehl was taken into custody Monday and charged with criminal homicide following an interview at the state police barracks in Vernon Township, DiGiacomo said.
The DA declined to comment on a possible motive in the case.
DiGiacomo said a second child residing at the Diehl home, a girl, was unharmed and is in the care of other Diehl relatives following Mary Diehl’s arrest.
‘State police have been working hard on the case and as a result of their further investigation yesterday (Monday), they then had probable cause to believe she (Diehl) should be charged with first-degree homicide — intentional killing,’ DiGiacomo said.
A filed criminal complaint alleges Diehl ‘did on our about September 5, 2021, with malice, premeditation and the specific intent to kill, did have the care dependent victim ingest poison for the purposes of causing his death.’
The complaint puts the timeframe of the alleged poisoning between 8:30 p.m. Sept. 5 and 10:11 a.m. Sept. 6.
Adopted boy found to have poison in his system
Blood tests results for Najir Diehl indicated poison in the child’s blood, according to a news release issued by state police, but the release did not indicate what type of alleged poison was found.
Crawford County Coroner Scott Schell said Najir Diehl was handicapped and had health issues.
However, toxicology testing was done on the child following his death, Schell said. The toxicology test results then led to additional tests being conducted, according to Schell. The additional test results were received from NMS Labs, a forensic testing laboratory, on Oct. 28. The results were reviewed by forensic pathologist, Dr. Eric Vey at the request of the Crawford County Coroner’s Office and state police, Schell said.
Diehl was arraigned Tuesday morning on a single count of criminal homicide before Magisterial District Judge Samuel Pendolino of Meadville.
Pendolino ordered Diehl held without bond in the Crawford County Correctional Facility, Saegertown, following arraignment. Under Pennsylvania law, homicide is a non-bondable offense.
Diehl is scheduled to have a preliminary hearing on the homicide charge Nov. 23. Online court records indicate Diehl had not retained an attorney as of Tuesday.
Under Pennsylvania law, if a person is convicted of first-degree murder, it carries a sentence of life in prison or, possibly, the death penalty.