A York City man who told police he was drinking heavily and fell asleep with a baby on his chest is now charged with murdering the child.
Andrew Jae Becker, 33, of 579 Linden Ave., was arraigned Friday and committed to York County Prison after being denied bail by District Judge Richard Martin II, according to court records.
He is charged with third-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter, endangering the welfare of a child and tampering with evidence.
York City Police and emergency crews were called to 579 Linden Ave. the morning of March 16, where they found 13-month-old Liliana Lunsford of Hanover unconscious and unresponsive, according to Becker's charging documents.
She was rushed to York Hospital, where she was pronounced dead, police said.
Undetermined cause: After an autopsy was performed, the York County Coroner's Office listed Liliana's cause of death as "undetermined, suspicious," which is very unusual, York County Coroner Pam Gay said.
Normally, undetermined deaths are not also noted as being suspicious, she said. The manner of the child's death also was ruled undetermined, Gay said.
Charging documents state the autopsy revealed Liliana's blood-alcohol level was 0.04 percent. The alcohol level in her stomach was 0.24 percent, documents state.
"There's no reason the child should have had alcohol in her system," Gay said, but added there wasn't enough alcohol in Liliana's system to have killed her.
The autopsy also found numerous abrasions and bruises on Liliana's head and neck that weren't there when she was dropped off at the home to be baby-sat by Becker's mother, Carolyn "Lyn" Becker, according to charging documents.
Lyn Becker told police that although there was no biological connection between her and Liliana, she considered herself the child's grandmother, documents state.
Hanging attempt: Even before Liliana had been pronounced dead, York City detectives had already taken Andrew Becker to their station to be interviewed, police said.
"Andrew was extremely upset, sobbing and was still very intoxicated," documents state. "Andrew had very distinct ligature marks around his neck. He explained that when he woke and found Liliana unresponsive that he attempted to hang himself in his room."
In several interviews over the next three months, Andrew Becker told detectives he had been drinking heavily the night of March 15, when Liliana was dropped off to be baby-sat by his mother, documents state.
Vodka: He said he took about eight "chugs" from a half-gallon bottle of vodka before going to bed with Liliana, according to charging documents, which were filed by York City Detective First Class Al Clarkson.
"Andrew stated that he had done this once before when Liliana had stayed overnight with them," Clarkson wrote. "Andrew explained that he liked to sleep with Liliana on his chest because it reminded him of his daughter in Maryland."
He told detectives that his mother stopped him from taking Liliana into his room and told him to leave her in her own bed because she needed to sleep, documents state.
But Andrew Becker said he waited a few minutes, then carried Liliana into his room anyway, according to police.
The Beckers realized Liliana was unresponsive when they awoke about 9 o'clock the next morning.
No bottle in home: Investigators were not able to find the vodka bottle that Andrew Becker said he'd been drinking from, according to charging documents.
Liliana was an otherwise-healthy child at the time of her death, Clarkson said.
"It's a terrible, terrible case," he told The York Dispatch.
Clarkson said members of the U.S. Marshals Service's fugitive task force arrested Andrew Becker without incident Friday in front of his home.
The detective confirmed investigators have a theory about what led to Liliana's death, but said he cannot yet make those details public.
"The bottom line is, this little girl had alcohol in her system," Clarkson said. "The pathologist said it was from ingesting it — she drank this alcohol. That's a problem. ... One-year-olds don't drink liquor on their own."
It is unclear whether Andrew Becker has retained an attorney.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at email@example.com.