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Paul Auster’s son tried to save baby with Narcan after taking fentanyl

The baby of New York author Paul Auster’s son took enough heroin and fentanyl to “knock an adult unconscious,” a Brooklyn prosecutor said Sunday.

Daniel Auster, 44, told authorities he woke up at his young family’s Park Slope home on the afternoon of November 1 to find his 10-month-old daughter Ruby’s “blue lips and staring eyes” – and then tried to no avail saving her with Narcan, Assistant District Attorney Tien Tran said at Daniel’s indictment in Brooklyn Criminal Court.

The concerned father, who used heroin that day, told police he gave Ruby the narcan “in case I screwed up,” the ADA said.

Paramedics were called to the scene and found the baby unconscious and unresponsive, and she was later pronounced dead at nearby Methodist Hospital, the NYPD said.

The city’s coroner determined that Ruby died of a fentanyl and heroin overdose — with enough drugs in her system to “knock an adult unconscious,” Tran said.

Police have yet to determine how Ruby ingested the deadly drugs.

Her father – who was arrested Friday night and charged with second-degree manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter and endangering the child’s well-being in her death – conspired to have “glassine packs of heroin” he kept in the bathroom, Tran said.

The city's coroner determined that Ruby had died of a fentanyl and heroin overdose — with enough drugs in her system "render an adult unconscious."
The city’s coroner determined that Ruby died of a fentanyl and heroin overdose — with enough drugs in her system to “knock an adult unconscious.”

Daniel has since admitted to authorities that he was using heroin the day Ruby died, although he originally claimed he had not used drugs in two days, Tran said.

Tran asked Judge John Hecht to have Daniel remanded in custody pending arraignment. Daniel’s attorney, John Godfrey of the Legal Aid Society, called for “adequate bail” to be posted and told the judge his client had come clean.

“He works in landscaping. He’s on Narcotics Anonymous,” Godfrey said. “He maintains a friendly relationship with the child’s mother.

Paramedics were called to the scene of the accident and found the baby unconscious and unresponsive.
Paramedics were called to the scene of the accident and found the baby unconscious and unresponsive.

He turned himself in,” the attorney noted.

The judge ordered Daniel to psychiatric treatment and set his bail at $250,000 insurance bail or $100,000 cash.

“There is extreme recklessness, he is at risk of fleeing because of his drug use,” said Hecht.

Daniel Auster was charged on April 15, 2022 with second-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter and endangering the welfare of a child.
Daniel Auster was charged on April 15, 2022 with second-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter and endangering the welfare of a child.
Paul Martinka

Daniel did not speak at the trial. None of his family appeared to be on trial.

Daniel’s award-winning father Paul wrote The New York Trilogy, The Book of Illusions and Moon Palace. Daniel’s mother, Paul Auster’s first wife, is the writer Lydia Davis. Daniel’s stepmother is the writer and essayist Siri Hustvedt.

According to Tran, Daniel was alert and awake when his wife, Zuzan Smith, went into work and left him with Ruby on November 1. Smith called home around 1 p.m. and could hear the baby in the background. Less than four hours later, at 4:26 p.m., Daniel called 911, the prosecutor said.

Paul Auster wrote The New York Trilogy, The Book of Illusions and Moon Palace.
Paul Auster wrote The New York Trilogy, The Book of Illusions and Moon Palace.
CHRIS J RATCLIFFE/AFP via Getty Images

The autopsy, which ruled the death a homicide, found no signs of bruising or trauma to the baby.

Two of Daniel’s neighbors told the Post on Saturday that after his daughter’s death, they walked past the apartment building where he lived and saw baby items outside for everyone to take home.

“Everything — all the baby clothes, books, toys — it was just heartbreaking,” said one of the residents, who asked not to be named.

Daniel Auster was transferred from Brooklyn Criminal Court in handcuffs.
Daniel Auster was transferred from Brooklyn Criminal Court in handcuffs.
Paul Martinka

Daniel pleaded guilty to stealing $3,000 from drug dealer Andre “Angel” Melendez more than two decades ago. Melendez was notoriously killed in 1996 by his roommate, New York party promoter “Club Kid Killer” Michael Alig.

Daniel’s father and mother divorced in 1978.

That same year, he married Paul Hustvedt, whose books include The Blindfold, The Enchantment of Lily Dahl and her best-known 2003 work, What I Loved.

The elder Auster and Hustvedt have both written novels that appear to be inspired by Daniel’s troubles, the Guardian reported in 2006. Hustvedt’s What I Loved is about a relationship between an artist, his drug-addicted son and the son’s stepmother.

Auster also reportedly wrote a character based on Daniel in his 2004 novel Oracle Night, in which the narrator has a drug-addicted son who terrorizes his stepmother, the Guardian said.

Daniel’s father and sister, who both live in Brooklyn, declined to comment when reached by The Post on Saturday.

https://nypost.com/2022/04/17/paul-austers-son-tried-to-save-baby-with-narcan-after-she-ingested-fentanyl/ Paul Auster’s son tried to save baby with Narcan after taking fentanyl

JACLYN DIAZ

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